The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies announced Tuesday that the organization will devote 40% of its 2004 budget to fighting AIDS and other infectious diseases around the world, Agence France-Presse reports. The organization plans to spend about $173 million in 2004 to help as many as 13 million people who suffer from infectious diseases. More than $60 million of that total will be directed to programs in sub-Saharan Africa. "The International Federation has never before devoted such a significant percentage of its annual appeal to supporting health programs," said federation secretary-general Markku Niskala. "This reflects a profound change in the approach of an organization which has built its reputation on responding to natural disasters."