Washington, DC- By a vote of 375 to 41, the U.S. House of Representatives last week passed the $15 billion United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act of 2003… Washington, DC- By a vote of 375 to 41, the U.S. House of Representatives last week passed the $15 billion United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act of 2003 (H.R 1298). Minnesota 4th District Congresswoman Betty McCollum was successful in including an amendment dedicating 10% of HIV/AIDS assistance over the next five years to AIDS orphans. More than 12 million children in Africa have lost one or both parents to AIDS.
Speaking on the floor of the U.S. House in support of this landmark legislation McCollum said, "America possesses the wealth, the knowledge, and the leadership to partner with the people of Africa to save lives, offer dignity to the dying, and provide opportunity to orphans struggling for survival. Our fight against AIDS at home, in Africa, and around the world is both a strategic and humanitarian battle that reflects the greatest strengths and the absolute goodness of the American people."
H.R.1298 also includes a provision introduced by McCollum requiring the development of specific strategies to promote sustainability of HIV/AIDS pharmaceuticals (antiretrovirals) and monitor the effects of drug resistance on HIV/AIDS patients.
McCollum's measure also requires monitoring and reporting to ensure that the extraordinary benefit of anitretrovirals are not diminished through illegal counterfeiting and black market sales of such pharmaceuticals. It is estimated that as much as 20% of all pharmaceuticals on the market in South Africa are counterfeit.
H.R. 1298 directs $3 billion annually toward prevention and treatment of global HIV/AIDS over the next five years. The legislation allows up to $1 billion to be spent for Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. The Senate will confirm a coordinator who will control all funds except those directed toward the global fund.