While I appreciate President Bush’s focus on the global AIDS issue, I am disappointed with the level of funding he announced for a new United Nations Global AIDS Fund today. President Bush’s proposal would shift $200 million from other programs to contribute to the new fund.
The United States must take the lead in the global fight against AIDS and we must expand our commitment to HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment in this country. Unfortunately, today’s announcement by President Bush falls far short of both of these important goals. Halting the global AIDS pandemic cannot happen without new resources. The proposal by President Bush to simply move existing funds around will not provide the real, sustained commitment that this crisis requires.
I am also disappointed that today’s announcement fails to provide any additional resources to address the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic in this country. Although the number of people living with HIV/AIDS and in need of services continues to grow, President Bush has frozen funding for critical HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment programs.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic is both a health and development crisis. Over 15,000 people are newly infected with HIV each day, most of them from the developing world. As AIDS kills teachers, doctors, and civil servants, decades of development assistance are being undermined. United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has stated that between $7 and $10 billion is needed each year to turn the tide of this pandemic.
As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, Rep. Pelosi has fought for dramatic increases for domestic and global AIDS in the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education and Foreign Operations Subcommittees.
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