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Associated Press
U.S. Reports Boost in AIDS Relief Spending
Barry Schweid, AP Diplomatic Writer
February 8, 2006
WASHINGTON - The State Department told Congress on Wednesday the U.S. worldwide AIDS relief program is helping more than 42 million people prevent the transmission of the disease.

"People are alive today because the United States has turned its words into action," the second annual report to Congress said.

Funding for condoms and related activities rose to $65.7 million last year, a $20.5 million increase over 2004, while $75.6 million was spent on abstinence and fidelity programs, a boost of $12.3 million.

Birth control measures are getting more funding from the administration even though many of its supporters disapprove of condom use - a surprising development.

Also unexpected were a rise in overall spending this year to $3.2 billion from $2.8 billion a year ago and President Bush's request to Congress for more than $4 billion for next year. These figures were in sharp contrast to Bush's proposed cuts in social welfare programs at home to help offset a fraction of the giant growth of war spending.

Bush launched the AIDS relief program in 2003 to fight the disease in more than 120 countries. At that time, an estimated 50,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa, which is especially hard-hit, were receiving HIV drugs. Two years later, the report said, 395,000 people in 12 sub-Saharan countries were receiving U.S.-financed treatment.

"In much of the developing world, hope for the future has been a victim of this scourge," the report said. "At last, however, hope has begun to be reborn."



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