Bush Asks for Action on HIV/AIDS By Todd Zwillich WASHINGTON (Reuters Health) - President Bush urged Congress to pass a $15 billion overseas AIDS relief package Tuesday, even as conservative groups continued to press for changes emphasizing sexual abstinence in the initiative. The President made a push for approval of a five-year, $15 billion authorization measure that recommends aid directed toward 14 African and Caribbean countries devastated by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The bill is scheduled for a vote in the U.S. House later this week. Bush said that Congress should approve the bill, even though it contains key measures that the White House opposed during committee debates. "Time is not on our side. So I ask Congress to move forward with the speed and seriousness that this crisis requires," said Bush, who noted earlier that 30 million people in Africa are already infected with HIV. Administration health officials have estimated that the initiative, which concentrates on the so-called "ABC" approach to HIV/AIDS relief -- promoting abstinence, being faithful, and using condoms -- could prevent up to 7 million new infections. Bush has asked Congress to spend $2 billion on the package in 2004, though the bill scheduled for a House vote this week contains $1 billion more than that request. The White House also initially fought a provision that allows up to $1 billion in spending on the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, preferring instead $200 million per year in contributions. AIDS groups praised the relief package, though some warned that Congress must still appropriate money later this year to fulfill the President's intentions on HIV/AIDS. Blah blah blah...wihle I do agree that money should be funded for AIDS research and prevention...the amount being funded blows my mind. 15 BILLION? 15 Billion to teach abstinence and use of condoms? Yes, AIDS is a worldwide problem. Yes third world countries need to be educated. But 15 billion is astronomical!! I wonder what percentage of 15 billion is provided for Fibro/CFS funding? This doesn't bother me that we are helping the world. What bothers me is the amount of money being funded by our government to help "educate" on abstinence when millions of us are suffering with no cure, no answer, and no help with this DD. I cannot even pay my rent for the month of May because I cannot get Social Security Disability Insurance (which I paid into since I was 12), but we can spend 15 billion on abstinence education!! Something is wrong here....very wrong!