President Bush Announces Five-Year, $30 Billion HIV/AIDS Plan
USINFO Staff Writer
Washington - President George Bush announced May 30 that he would work with Congress to double the U.S. commitment to fight HIV/AIDS around the world - to $30 billion - and reauthorize the legislation that established the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
If Congress meets the president’s budget request for fiscal year 2008, and with the new $30 billion proposal, the American people will have committed $48.3 billion over 10 years to fight HIV/AIDS. The U.S. contribution is already the largest international health initiative dedicated to a specific disease.
PEPFAR, Bush said during a White House press briefing, is “a promising start, yet without further action, the legislation that funded this emergency plan is set to expire in 2008. Today, I ask Congress to demonstrate America's continuing commitment to fighting the scourge of HIV/AIDS by reauthorizing this legislation now.”
The added $15 billion, he said, “will be spent wisely through the establishment of partnership compacts with host nations. These compacts would ensure that U.S. funds support programs that have the greatest possible impact and are sustainable for the future.”
Joining Bush were Mark Dybul, U.S. global AIDS coordinator; Rajat Gupta, chairman of the board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; Michael Leavitt, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and John Negroponte, deputy secretary of state.
If the plan is approved, the United States will work with governments, the private sector, and faith- and community-based organizations worldwide, Bush said, to support treatment for nearly 2.5 million people, to prevent more than 12 million new infections, and to support care for 12 million people, including more than 5 million orphans and vulnerable children.
The president also announced that through March 31 - after three years of PEPFAR implementation - the United States has supported treatment for 1.1 million people in the 15 focus countries, including more than 1 million in Africa.
The focus countries are Botswana, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Guyana, Haiti, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam and Zambia.
NEW PARTNERSHIP PLAN
Bush’s new plan for PEPFAR would continue HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention and care, and expand efforts to strengthen health systems and leverage programs that address malaria, tuberculosis, child and maternal health, clean water, food and nutrition, education and other needs.
Under the plan, the United States would pursue what the administration calls “partnership compacts.”
Countries in such partnerships would add their own resources to U.S. support for HIV/AIDS, and adopt policies and practices that contribute to expanding each country’s health care work force, promoting gender equality, protecting orphans rights, and making HIV counseling and testing effective.
In this way, the plan would transition from an emergency response to a sustainable response for treatment, prevention and care.
The new proposal would maintain 2 million people on lifesaving treatment and support treatment for another 500,000, avert 5 million more HIV infections beyond the 7 million averted in the initial phase and maintain care for 10 million people, including 4 million orphans and vulnerable children, and support care for another 2.3 million people, including more than 1 million orphans and vulnerable children.
“The statistics and dollar amounts I've cited in the fight against HIV/AIDS are significant,” Bush said, “but the scale of this effort is not measured in numbers. This is really a story of the human spirit and the goodness of human hearts. Once again, the generosity of the American people is one of the great untold stories of our time.”
Bush thanked Congress for its strong bipartisan support for the original PEPFAR program and called for passage of reauthorizing legislation consistent with the program’s successful principles.
Laura Bush will travel to Senegal, Mozambique, Zambia and Mali June 25-29 to underscore the U.S. commitment to Africa and highlight advances being made in HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment.
For more information, see HIV/AIDS.