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January 25, 2008

President Bush to Propose $30 Billion for PEPFAR

In his final State of the Union address on January 28, President Bush will unveil a proposal to double U.S. funding from $15 billion to $30 billion to fight HIV/AIDS overseas, reports USA TODAY (usatoday.com, 1/24).

The proposed $30 billion budget for the president's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) would provide treatment for approximately 2.5 million people living with HIV and fund preventive measures for about 12 million others over the course of five years. The PEPFAR program, approved by Congress in 2003, currently serves 15 countries in the Caribbean, Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. A recent editorial in The New York Times suggested that PEPFAR “may be the most lasting bipartisan accomplishment of the Bush presidency.”

“Our compassion should be manifested in helping people who suffer from disease and hunger,” said President Bush. “We have a strategy that's working. It is to support a strategy that has made a difference in over a million people's lives in a relatively quick period of time.”

President Bush, who will travel to Africa next month for a six-day trip, says his final address will also introduce a “new idea” to address hunger and expand a current initiative to curb malaria in the developing world.


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