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Congress Poised to Reauthorize Legislation Aimed at Dramatic Expansion of Global HIV and AIDS Programs
Date:2/7/2008

Draft bill corrects flaws in existing policy; Legislation has overwhelming support of large global AIDS coalition

WASHINGTON, Feb. 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Next week, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs will mark up the U.S. Global HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008 - funding programs currently implemented under the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). A coalition of more than 160 organizations representing advocates, service providers, researchers, academics, and students is calling for swift passage of the bill, which authorizes some $50 billion and seeks to create a "sustainable response" to the global AIDS epidemic.

Changes from existing law include provisions to increase flexibility for developing country prevention programs and increased support for efforts to address the vulnerability of specific populations, including women, youth, men who have sex with men and intravenous drug users - groups among which are found the highest rates of new infection. The bill provides increased technical and financial support for strengthening health systems and supporting training of health care workers; increases funding of scientific research for new vaccines, microbicides and other prevention technologies; and calls for stronger coordination of efforts across U.S. agencies on HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria programs.

"We are delighted that this bill recognizes the importance of building a sustainable health care system in Africa," noted Paul Davis of HealthGAP. "Right now, there are more Ethiopian doctors in Washington, D.C. than in Ethiopia. UNAIDS projects that 427,000 new health care workers are needed to achieve universal access. The U.S. should train at least one-third of the new health care workers needed and help build the capacity of impoverished nations to respond to their internal health crises and move from emergency to sustainability."

By increasing funding for global AIDS
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SOURCE American Jewish World Service
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