Historic Biden/Lugar Global AIDS Bill Becomes Law

Press Release

Biden/Lugar Legislation Authorizing $48 Billion for HIV/AIDS, Malaria and TB Signed by President Today

Historic legislation sponsored by Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-DE) and Ranking Member Richard G. Lugar (R-IN) to authorize $48 billion for global HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis programs for the next five fiscal years became law today. Senators Biden and Lugar were present in the East Room of the White House as the President signed the Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008 - a landmark step in the worldwide fight against HIV/AIDS and other deadly diseases.

"In 2003, we launched the largest public health program the world had ever seen and it had a dramatic impact, saving millions of lives," said Senator Joe Biden. "We've made tremendous strides, but our work is not nearly finished. Two million people died last year of HIV/AIDS. Over two and a half million people died of malaria and TB. That's over 10,000 people killed per day - per day - because of these diseases. An entire generation - and the stability of many countries - remains at risk. It is our moral obligation to lead the world in this fight. This legislation is a product of bipartisan and bicameral compromise and shared commitment to saving lives worldwide. I would also like to thank the President. His decision to launch this initiative was bold and unexpected, and I believe historians may regard it as his finest hour. I'm proud to be here with Senator Lugar as the President signs the bill into law."
"I thank President and Laura Bush for their commitment to stem the tide of AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria worldwide. PEPFAR has accomplished a great deal in its first five years and yielded enormous foreign policy benefits. It has helped to prevent instability and societal collapse in a number of at-risk countries; stimulated contributions from other wealthy nations to fight AIDS; facilitated deep partnerships with a new generation of African leaders; and improved attitudes toward the United States in Africa and other regions. By reauthorizing PEPFAR, we will continue to save lives on a massive scale and preserve the fabric of numerous fragile societies," said Senator Lugar.

Senators Biden and Lugar's legislation (S. 2731/H.R. 5501) specifically:

* Authorizes $48 billion to combat global HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis over the next five fiscal years;
* Sets ambitious targets for saving millions of lives through HIV/AIDS treatment, care, and prevention and the training of health care workers;
* Removes earmarks that had constrained the effectiveness of our programs and provides for a flexible approach to helping countries combat their local epidemics;
* Strengthens efforts to address the special vulnerabilities of girls and women to HIV/AIDS, prevent the transmission of HIV from mothers to children and expand access to treatment for children;
* Substantially increases U.S. assistance to prevent and treat malaria through insecticide treated bed-nets, indoor residual spraying, access to anti-malarial drugs and other tools;
* Expands efforts to combat tuberculosis including the growing problem of drug resistant strains of TB; and
* Repeals the legal ban on visas for persons infected with HIV.

A copy of the bill is available at http://www.congress.gov/cgi-lis/query/z?c110:S.2731: