WASHINGTON — The Senate voted yesterday to triple spending for a much-acclaimed program that has treated and protected millions in Africa and elsewhere from the scourges of AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.
The 80-16 vote committed America to spending up to $48 billion over the next five years for the most ambitious foreign public health program ever launched by the America.
The legislation would replace and expand the current $15 billion act that President Bush championed in a State of the Union address and Congress passed in 2003. That act expires at the end of September.
In a statement, Mr. Bush said that when the program was launched in 2003, about 50,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa were receiving anti-retroviral treatment for HIV/AIDS. Today, the program supports lifesaving anti-retroviral treatment for more than 1.7 million people around the world, he said. It also has supported treatment and prevention programs that have helped HIV-positive women give birth to nearly 200,000 infants who are HIV-free.