President Bush Announces $500 Million Global AIDS Increase
Announcement Comes Ahead of Major Address Linking HIV/AIDS, Poverty and Illiteracy in U.S. Aid Policy
(WASHINGTON, DC) – In his second Rose Garden announcement on global AIDS since taking office last year, President George W. Bush proposed a $500 million spending increase to combat HIV/AIDS in the developing countries of Africa and the Caribbean over the next three years.
The plan pushes total global AIDS funding requested by the Bush Administration well over $1 billion for the coming year, and the announcement comes ahead of a major address the President will deliver tomorrow where he will once again stress the link between HIV/AIDS, economic development and education as central to the Administration's foreign aid policies.
The plan announced today would focus spending on providing HIV/AIDS drug therapies to expectant mothers in poor nations to prevent mother-to-child transmission. Among the nations targeted in the Bush plan is South Africa, whose leaders recently bowed to international pressure to begin providing access to life-saving HIV/AIDS treatments.
"Medical science gives us the power to save these young lives," Bush said in the announcement. "Conscience demands we do so."
"Today I call on other industrialized nations and international organizations to join this crucial effort," Bush said.
With this announcement, the United States expands it position as the lead funder of global AIDS programs. The Bush Administration pledged the seed funding in 2001 to start the Global Fund to combat HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, and has since pledged to fund over 20% of the $10 billion being sought by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan for the fund. The U.S. is represented in the Global Fund's governing leadership, which completed its organizing efforts and began disbursing funds earlier this year, far ahead of expectations.
Secretary of State Colin Powell said last year that the AIDS crisis in the developing world, and the social and economic devastation it is inflicting on poor nations, posed a threat to the national security of the United States.
Since taking office, President Bush has proposed more funding to combat HIV/AIDS in the developing world than any previous administration.
"We applaud the leadership that the United States continues to provide in the fight against AIDS in poor nations," said Rich Tafel, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans. "We urge Congress to work with President Bush in a bipartisan way to continue expanding our nation's leadership role in addressing what has become a serious threat to our national security."
Log Cabin Republicans is the nation's largest gay and lesbian Republican organization, with state and local chapters nationwide, a full-time national office and a federal political action committee.