July 16, 2003
The Honorable Jim Kolbe
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC, 20505

Dear Chairman Kolbe:

As you begin the full Appropriations Committee mark-up for fiscal year 2004 I want to reiterate the Administrationís strong support for the FY2004 budget request of $2 billion for all international HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria activities, including $200 million for the Globa1 Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS. TB, and Malaria. This request is a solid first step in fulfilling the President's commitment of providing $15 billion over the next five years to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa, the Caribbean and around the world.

I recently finished traveling to Africa with the President where he saw first-hand the positive impact that current U.S. funding is having in caring for the sick, providing treatment for individuals living with HIV/AIDS and extending lives. He also witnessed the vast infrastructure and capacity challenges that need to be addressed in order to scale-up many of these efforts. As the President indicated while we were in Africa, we will be bringing anti-retroviral medications and other drugs, providing HIV testing, establishing broad and efficient networks to deliver drugs, helping build, renovate and equip clinics and laboratories, and preparing doctors and nurses and other health care professionals to treat AIDS more effectively. But these efforts need to be coordinated, deliberate and should scale-up in stages to efficiently and effectively create the necessary training, technology, and infrastructure base needed to ensure the long-term success of this initiative. The President's $2 billion request in the FY04 budget reflects this reality, and is evidence of the President's commitment to ensuring that taxpayer funds are spent efficiently and responsibly.

I appreciate your support and the strong bipartisan support of the House in ensuring the success of this lifesaving initiative.

Dr. Joseph F. O'Neill
Office of National AIDS Policy