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Senate passes $15 billion AIDS bill

Senate passes $15 billion AIDS bill

The Senate on Friday approved by voice vote an international HIV/AIDS bill (HR 1298) that would authorize $15 billion over five years to fight AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean, including an amendment that would increase funding for debt relief in countries hit hardest by HIV/AIDS, the Los Angeles Times reports. The House earlier this month approved the measure, sponsored by Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), which would authorize $3 billion a year for five years to international HIV/AIDS programs, with up to $1 billion in fiscal year 2004 going to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. The bill endorses an "ABC" HIV prevention model--abstinence, be faithful, use condoms--which has had success in lowering AIDS prevalence rates in Uganda. In addition, the bill would establish a new federal task force to act as a shadow for the Global Fund as part of an effort to allay fears among many Republicans that the fund is inefficient. The measure also specifically allocates one third of the bill's HIV/AIDS prevention funding for abstinence and monogamy programs. President Bush is expected to sign the bill.

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