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Letter to President Bush regarding AIDS epidemic

December 3, 2001

The Honorable George W. Bush
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

I am writing on behalf of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church to express our commitment to a full scale effort to stop the global AIDS pandemic and its related causes, particularly in impoverished regions of the world. Because of the seriousness of this and related health crises, we are writing to urge you to submit to the Congress an emergency supplemental request for at least an additional $1 billion for the Global AIDS, TB, and Malaria Fund. We strongly believe that an emergency appropriation is absolutely essential to leverage significant additional public and private resources to meet the estimated $10 billion annual cost of fighting the global AIDS pandemic.

Our church, which is global in nature, has many local churches and agencies in these affected regions; we have seen the terrible impact of AIDS firsthand. The pandemic has killed over 25 million people, including an estimated four million children. Last year 600,000 new infections of children took place. There are over 13 million orphans that have resulted from AIDS. TB and malaria cause some 3 million deaths each year.

We welcome your administration's initial request of $200 million for the Global Fund. However, given the resources needed to effectively respond to HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria, the Global AIDS, TB, and Malaria Fund will need much larger contributions. We urge that U.S. support for the Global Fund be in keeping with our traditional leadership role in the world and the enormity of this crisis.

We recognize the federal budget faces severe limits. Nevertheless, the magnitude and projected global impact of HIV/AIDS demands a greater response. Without bold interventions now, current projections that 50 million people will become infected by 2005 will be a reality. We urge your administration to address this crisis by submitting an FY02 emergency supplemental to the Congress calling for a minimum of $1 billion to be designated for the Global Fund and an additional $200 million for USAID for global AIDS programs.

The AIDS pandemic and its related causes in Africa, Asia and elsewhere threaten to destabilize nations and undermine global security. We believe taking bold action now to ensure adequate resources for the Global AIDS, TB, and Malaria Fund would be one of the best ways the U.S. could exert leadership in a troubled world.

Again, we appreciate what you and your administration have done to respond to these diseases which cause so much suffering and death throughout the world. It is clear, however, that a far greater response by the United States is urgently needed.


Elias Galvan, President