House Committee Approves Global AIDS Funds
Hyde: "AIDS pandemic is one of the great moral challenges of our era, and threatens the stability of the Globe"
(WASHINGTON, DC) – A compromise international AIDS funding proposal authored by U.S. Rep. Henry J. Hyde (R-IL) was overwhelming approved today by the House International Relations Committee.
The $1.36 billion proposal includes $750 million for an international AIDS trust fund, and was the result of successful negotiations by Hyde and U.S. Reps. Tom Lantos (D-CA), the committee's ranking Democrat, Jim Leach (R-IA), and Barbara Lee (D-CA).
"Mindful of the colossal threat posed by HIV/AIDS, this committee has chosen to embark upon a courageous and bipartisan course that constitutes a declaration of war on the pandemic," said Hyde, chairman of the committee. The measure was adopted by the committee, 32-4.
The Hyde compromise to HR 2069, Global Access to HIV/AIDS Prevention, Awareness, Education, and Treatment Act of 2001, also authorizes the Agency for International Development to undertake a comprehensive program of HIV/AIDS prevention, education, and treatment with $560 million in FY '02. This bill also authorizes an additional $50 million pilot program for treatment of those infected by assisting developing countries in procuring pharmaceuticals and anti-viral therapies. The compromise also authorizes a $750 million contribution to an international AIDS trust fund in FY '02. "We must provide resources at a pace at which they can be absorbed and used wisely. We must continue to encourage and support faith-based organizations and churches that are doing good works to educate the poor about HIV and AIDS," Hyde said.
More than 22 million have died of AIDS throughout the world, three million last year alone, Hyde said. That is more than 8,000 deaths everyday, or nearly one death every six minutes, he added.
"Children suffer inordinately from the cruel pandemic. Millions are born HIV-infected even though mother-to-child transmission can be easily avoided if adequate training and healthcare is provided," Hyde said, adding, "by the end of the decade, 40 million children will be orphaned as a consequence of AIDS."
"Simply stated, the AIDS virus is one of the great moral challenges of our era, for it is a scourge of unparalleled proportions in modern times. Everyone has a stake in what tragically could be the plague of the 21st century. Accordingly, we should do all we can to meet this test by reaching out now to those most in need – it is the right thing to do for our children, our country, and our world," Hyde added.
"The pandemic is not limited to Africa. The Caribbean region has the second highest rate of infections in the world. Russia had the highest increase rate of any country. The social upheaval that could arise in Russia as a result of this crisis could have serious consequences for global security." he added.
"America must contribute its fair share as we work to leverage additional funds for this crusade from other developing countries. By providing this level of authorization, we can ensure that the contributions made by the United States will be adequate, and also yield the commitments from other countries to make this effort a truly global war on AIDS.
Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman