Global AIDS Alliance Thanks Congress for Increasing Funding for AIDS, TB and Malaria Programs

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WASHINGTON, Jan. 30 /-USNewswire/ -- Today the Global AIDS Alliance thanked the US Congress for agreeing to a major increase in funds to combat AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in Africa and other regions for fiscal year 2007. Congress will increase funding by $1.3 billion, for a total of $4.5 billion. This will raise the U.S. contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a cost-effective international partnership, to $724 million.

    Congress has recognized that global disease is a true emergency in which bold US leadership can be truly effective. The AIDS epidemic is still spreading, with 4.3 million new infections this past year. Extremely drug- resistant TB is a major new threat, especially in southern Africa. Malaria is a major killer of children and a contributing factor in the spread of HIV/AIDS.

    Dr. Paul Zeitz, Executive Director of the Global AIDS Alliance, made the following statement:

    "This funding increase will save millions of lives and provide urgently needed care and support for millions of orphaned and vulnerable children. We thank all members of Congress responsible for this funding increase, in particular Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-IL), Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV), Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Representative David Obey (D-WI), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), and Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA). These legislators are putting the US on the right side of history by fully backing the fight against disease. This is exactly the kind of bold leadership we need in the US Congress.

    "With the increase for the Global Fund, the US is much better placed to go to other countries and urge them to increase their contributions to the Fund. We will need Germany, Japan and others to now reciprocate by upping their contributions; otherwise the global goal of universal access to AIDS-related services by 2010 will remain out of reach.

    "A new, extremely dangerous form of TB has emerged, and much more US funding will be required to combat it, and quickly. Extremely drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) threatens to undermine much of our progress in fighting HIV/AIDS. The emergency is so great that the Congress should use the upcoming Supplemental Budget for 2007 to channel $300 million to address this disease threat.

    "A wide range of humanitarian, student and religious groups worked together to urge Congress to provide the funding agreed to this week. People across the United States also appealed to Congress to provide this funding, and Congress responded with vision and leadership.

    "Increases are also urgently needed for other global poverty programs, as well as the response to AIDS in the United States, and we hope Congress provides these as a part of the FY 2008 appropriations process." Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link. Dr. Paul S. Zeitz
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