Senate Republicans have released their legislative agenda for the current session, which includes plans to boost financial support for international AIDS efforts, particularly the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, The New York Times reports. Increasing AIDS funding is among the Senate leaders' top 10 priorities for the year. The inclusion of AIDS among the priorities for the senators is largely attributed to new majority leader Bill Frist, a former physician who has been described as playing a key role in persuading President Bush to commit $15 billion over five years to fight AIDS in developing nations.
"This little virus is only 22 years old but has killed 23 million people," Frist said. "And in the best of all worlds, it's going to kill another 45 million. And I want the history books 30 years from now to look back and say America stood up and changed the course of history, which will affect tens of millions of people, saving their lives."