April 4, 2008

U.S. Bishops Praise House Passage of Health Bill to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria

WASHINGTON, D.C. (USCCB) — On April 2, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008 (HR 5501).

The reauthorization act strengthens HIV/AIDS programs by increasing nutrition resources needed for effective treatment, by improving the health care capacity of host governments, and by expanding HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention.

Bishop Thomas G. Wenski, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, praised the House vote.

"On behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I welcome the bipartisan spirit expressed in yesterday's House vote to renew our nation's flagship program to combat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Yesterday's action sends two messages to anyone wondering about our nation's commitment to the world's poor and vulnerable: The United States will continue its solidarity with those affected by these terrible diseases, and such programs must continue to support morally appropriate evidenced-based prevention and treatment activities that have been shown to save lives."

Ken Hackett, President of Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. Bishops' Relief and Development Agency, added, "This bill, if it becomes law, offers a pathway to respond more vigorously to current needs and to guarantee continued care and treatment of those affected by HIV/AIDS. For example, providing food for sick and vulnerable people will improve treatment. Also, much-needed health workers can be trained though this bill to build capacity locally to prevent and treat these diseases."

"In addition, CRS and other private voluntary and faith-based organizations will be able to increase their lifesaving work. CRS alone would expect to expand treatment from 100,000 to more than twice that amount,” Hackett said.

Press Contact: Keven Moore, 202.541.2306.

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