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House Overwhelmingly Approves Renewal and Tripling of Successful U.S. Global AIDS Prevention Effort
Date:4/2/2008

nt had called for only a $30 billion reauthorization, and the White House renewed that call just after the February committee vote; nevertheless, yesterday the Administration issued a statement strongly supporting the legislation. Some members of Congress this week sought amendments to cut the program's budget back to $15 billion, but they did not succeed.

The new measure contains provisions that move the global HIV/AIDS program beyond the "emergency" phase of implementation under the President's Emergency Program for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and seeks to make the programs that it supports more sustainable over the long term. It dramatically boosts HIV/AIDS programming related to women and girls; strengthens health systems in countries hard-hit by the virus that causes AIDS; authorizes HIV/AIDS programs to include linkages to food and nutrition, education and health care programs; and increases U.S. contributions to the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The legislation overturns the controversial and ineffective 1/3 abstinence-only requirement that applies to global HIV/AIDS prevention funding, which was included in the 2003 law over the objections of the then-Democratic minority. This restriction has subsequently proven to hamper the effectiveness of health care efforts in the field, as documented in recent, independent reports by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Instead, the Executive Branch will be directed to promote a "balanced" prevention program in all countries where the program operates, including every element of the Abstinence, "Be Faithful," and Condoms (ABC) approach toward HIV transmission prevention.

Making his case before his House colleagues today, Berman talked about these changes and the process of negotiation and compromise that led to the current version of the legislation. In closing, he pointed to the project's real bottom line: "Each and every day
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SOURCE House Committee on Foreign Affairs
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