From the Washington Post:
IN HIS 2003 State of the Union address, President Bush surprised many when he proposed to take the fight against AIDS to Africa. At the time, slowing the spread of the disease seemed quixotic, particularly on a continent where only about 50,000 of the 30 million infected people received antiretroviral treatment. But Mr. Bush's proposed "work of mercy beyond all current international efforts" has had a profound impact. After five years and $15 billion, 1.7 million people are receiving treatment. Encouraged by the progress, countries in sub-Saharan Africa have spent more of their own money to combat HIV-AIDS. The disease still ravages millions of Africans, but it is no longer an automatic death sentence.On July 30, Mr. Bush signed into law a bill that would triple funding for programs that fight HIV-AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. The bill also repealed a ban on HIV-positive visitors and immigrants to the United States.
Globally, funding for HIV-AIDS has increased to $10 billion annually, 40 times greater than the $250 million provided in the mid-1990s. Worldwide deaths from AIDS dropped 10 percent last year, according to a recent U.N. report.
Helping treat AIDS patients in poor countries earns the United States considerable goodwill abroad. It's also the right thing to do.
From the NYT:
..the Democratic-led House acted this week to rescue another of Mr. Bush’s international priorities: the global fight against AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, diseases that kill millions of Africans each year.
That Democrats stepped in to champion Mr. Bush’s signature global health undertakings suggests the deepening of political support for foreign aid programs, especially those that quickly demonstrate they can save hundreds of thousands of lives. It also bucks a historical pattern of declining support for foreign assistance when control of Congress and the White House is divided between Democrats and Republicans.
Under Mr. Bush, aid to Africa has risen to more than twice the level of any previous administration and more than triple that achieved during the Clinton administration, according to an analysis by the Center for Global Development, a nonprofit research group in Washington.
President Clinton, now a leading advocate for global AIDS treatment and prevention programs, failed to muster an American response commensurate with the scale of the dying, many critics say.
Tim Rieser, who has been the lead Democratic staff member on the same Senate subcommittee since 1995, said: “When Clinton was president, he didn’t make AIDS the priority he should have. President Bush saw the opportunity and deserves credit for that.