Senators say Africans question Bush's AIDS pledge

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com February 28 2003 12:00 AM ET

Returning from a weeklong trip to South Africa and Botswana, senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) said many Africans are worried that the Bush administration will not follow through on its $15 billion commitment to fight AIDS. Last month in his State of the Union address, Bush pledged to spend $15 billion over five years on global AIDS efforts.

"There is concern in Africa that the United States, engaging in a war in the Middle East, will not have the resources to deal with other problems in the world, including AIDS," Durbin said. "We want to make certain we keep that promise." Feingold said he would push for more money for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria because it can leverage matching donations from other countries. Bush has proposed granting $1 billion each year to the fund. Feingold said he also wants to ensure that money goes to treatment as well as prevention.