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HIV/AIDS Bill Clears Senate

With little debate, the Senate passed, by unanimous consent, on July 12 a bill (H.R. 2069) that would authorize roughly $5 billion in global HIV/AIDS assistance. The Senate called up a House-passed global HIV/AIDS bill (H.R. 2069) and replaced the text with two Senate measures (S. 2525 and S. 2649).

The International AIDS Treatment and Prevention Act (S. 2649), which was approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on June 27, would authorize the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to undertake a range of HIV prevention, care, and treatment services in countries with, or at risk for, a severe HIV epidemic. The bill would authorize $400 million in FY2003 for the CDC and $40 million for HRSA to carry out such activities.

Additionally, the bill would authorize $50 million in FY2003 for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and HRSA to award grants to provide support for clinical education and training in the delivery of HIV/AIDS care and treatment services. A new family survival program would be authorized at $45 million in FY2003 and $30 million in FY2004. The program would support public-private partnerships to provide medical care and support services to HIV-positive parents and their children.

S. 2649 also includes a section devoted to microbicide research. Specifically, the bill would direct the Office of AIDS Research at the NIH to expand, intensify, and coordinate all activities with respect to microbicide research. Additionally, the bill would require the NIH to expedite the implementation of its strategic plan for the research and to award grants to support the operation of multidisciplinary teams to conduct such research.

S. 2649 also would authorize $10 million in FY2003 for the Department of Labor to undertake workplace HIV/AIDS prevention and education programs in countries with, or at-risk for, a severe HIV epidemic.

The United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act (S. 2525), which was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on June 13, would provide $4.7 billion for HIV/AIDS programs through FY2004.

The bill would allocate $2.2 billion in FY2003 and FY2004 for the U.N.’s Global AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Fund and $1.7 billion for bilateral programs operated by USAID.

The legislation would provide $20 million in FY2003 and $24 million in FY2004 for microbicide research. In addition, S. 2525 would provide $15 million in FY2003 and $30 million in FY2004 to assist orphans and other children affected by the disease in foreign countries.

The bill also contains language that specifies that the United States “assist in empowering women socially, economically, and intellectually to prevent coercive practices which contribute to the spread of HIV/AIDS.” S. 2525 would assist in providing adequate pre-and post-natal care to women with HIV/AIDS to prevent an increase in the number of HIV/AIDS orphans and would assist in providing medications to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS and infant formula for infant feeding.

Under the measure, the President would be required to submit to Congress a report on programs designed to prevent mother-to-child transmission, as well as a report on the USAID’s plan to empower women in order to prevent the spread of the disease.

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