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Bush promises eventual full funding of international AIDS initiative

Bush promises eventual full funding of international AIDS initiative

President Bush on Wednesday said that his administration and Congress have provided less than the promised $3 billion in funding for the first year of the international AIDS initiative in order to give the program time to "ramp up," and he promised the full $15 billion in funding over the next five years. "We sent up something less than $3 billion because we didn't think the program could ramp up fast enough to absorb that amount of money early," he said. "It ramps up more in the out-years, as the program is capable of absorbing a lot of money. It doesn't make any sense to load up on antiretrovirals if the distribution system won't get them out. In other words, there's some things some countries have to do to prepare for the arrival of a lot of money." Bush in May signed into law a measure that authorizes $15 billion over five years to fight AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean. The House so far has approved a total of $2 billion for the AIDS initiative in fiscal 2004, and the Senate is considering appropriations bills providing a similar amount.

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