Global AIDS Funding to Pep the US Up

More Money for PEPFAR

Last week George Bush signed into law a bill to increase global HIV/AID, tuberculosis and malaria funding. The bill had been delayed while the Senate negotiated aspects of the funding, questions like how much would be allocated to drugs, versus infection prevention. After legislative deliberation and compromise, the House approved the bill and the president signed it last week. H.R. 5501, known as the Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008, sets out to expand the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) by increasing funding to $48 billion dollars for the three diseases and some miscellaneous appropriations. Further deliberations will determine whether the Act is fully funded.

In his remarks at the ceremony Bush said "Laura and I saw the hope on our trip to Africa. I wish every single America '[sic]' could have seen the tens of thousands of people who lined the streets during our visit, and they were cheering and waving American flags in gratitude to the generosity of the American people." (Bush made the same statement after visiting Ghana and four other African countries earlier this year.) He continued that he thought it "important for our fellow citizens to understand that PEPFAR is saving lives...showing the good heart of our nation...earn[ing] us respect and thanks around the world."

US HIV Infections

In other HIV/AIDS news, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released rates of infection information, based on revised methods used to determine time of HIV infection more accurately. As a result the CDC reports greater numbers of HIV infections in the US than previously reported. Previous data showed that 40,000 new infections occurred in the US every year, now the CDC has adjusted that number up to between 55,000 - 58,500 new cases each year. The full CDC report by Hall et al, "Estimation of HIV Incidence in the United States", is published in JAMA's August 6th issue. The CDC announced the news ahead of the international AIDS conference that started today in Mexico City. Funding for HIV/AIDS prevention has reportedly fallen relative to inflation.

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