Via the New York Times
Congress and the White House are preparing to ramp up spending on programs to combat AIDS and related diseases around the world while removing some of the ideological blinders that have long undermined the effort to slow the spread of the AIDS virus. It will be a welcome strengthening of a foreign aid program that was already one of the shining accomplishments of the Bush administration.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee this week approved a bipartisan compromise, crafted in negotiations between House leaders and the White House, that would authorize a hefty $50 billion over the next five years to support campaigns against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. This represents a huge increase over the $19 billion appropriated in the first five years of the program and a significant increase over the new funding requested by President Bush. The president had originally proposed $30 billion over five years, primarily to fight AIDS, whereas the new bill would authorize perhaps $37 billion to $41 billion to the AIDS struggle.
The administration’s program started small five years ago to meet a perceived emergency as the AIDS epidemic spread out of control. It has already provided drug treatment to almost 1.5 million men, women and children and supportive care to millions of others. The focus for the next five years will be on making some of the initial gains sustainable.
In one farsighted move, money will be used to train some 144,000 new health care workers over the next five years to care for people infected with H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS. That is at best a start on easing the severe shortage of health care workers in the developing world, which some estimates peg in the millions. Other donor nations will need to contribute to the training effort as well.
The most troublesome ideological constraint on the program — a requirement that one-third of the funds used for prevention services be spent on abstinence education — has been greatly eased. The bill calls for a balanced prevention program that would promote abstinence until marriage and fidelity thereafter, as well as condoms. It requires countries to report if abstinence and fidelity funding falls below a certain percentage, but it sets no firm percentage that has to be met.
The House is expected to pass the bill in the near future, and the Senate is considering its own version. Although some Republicans are grumbling over the amount of money proposed, it is important that Congress appropriate the full $50 billion if possible. Even that sum would almost certainly not provide universal access to treatment for all people infected with H.I.V., a goal that the major industrialized nations claim to be pursuing.
"Perceived emergency" (?!?!!?!?!?!?!)
So what were the last 27 years? A ride on the fucking carousel?!
Wonderful to hear that there will be more money and more training and, thank goodness, less abstinence only programs but of course republicans are "grumbling" over the amount of money spent, because after all, to them, this is still a "sex disease" only affecting homos and minorities, which in their wealthy white way-of-thinking is preventable for everyone!