House approves final AIDS bill, sends it to Bush
The U.S. House on Wednesday approved by a voice vote a final version of the $15 billion international AIDS bill, sending the measure to President Bush, who has said he will sign it into law, The New York Times reports. The House earlier this month approved the measure but needed to revote on the bill after the Senate added an amendment calling for debt reduction in developing nations to help free up money for AIDS programs. The bill will provide $3 billion a year for the next five years to fund HIV prevention, education, and treatment programs in Africa and the Caribbean.
The package recommends that 55% of the aid go to treatment programs, 20% to prevention programs, 15% to palliative care, and 10% to programs for AIDS orphans. The bill also specifically earmarks one third of the funding for programs that stress abstinence and monogamy as the preferred methods to prevent HIV infection. Bush plans to sign the bill next week during a White House ceremony. He also plans to use the measure to help persuade other Western nations to boost their spending on international AIDS efforts when he attends a G8 summit meeting in France in early June.