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August 28, 2001
The Honorable Tom Lantos
United States House of Representatives
2217 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
I am writing on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to express our appreciation for the serious attention that the House of Representatives is giving to global health crises and, in particular HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, through the work of the International Relations Committee on H.R. 2069, the Global Access to HIV/AIDS Prevention, Awareness, Education and Treatment Act. The overall direction as well as a number of noteworthy provisions included in this legislation represent a positive development in U.S. foreign policy.
In March of this year, the U.S. Catholic Bishops testified before the Foreign Operations Subcommittee about the urgent need for substantially more aid to sub-Saharan Africa, as a component of a comprehensive development agenda to attack poverty and its root causes, including the threat of communicable diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS. As reported out of the International Relations Committee, H.R. 2069 would address many issues raised in our testimony about funding for global health, including:
We are also encouraged by the efforts undertaken to focus prevention activities on education and counseling. As you are aware, the U.S. Catholic Bishops have principled concerns about prevention activities we find inconsistent with Catholic teaching; however, we do support educational programs designed to promote behavioral change so as to attain responsible and mutually respectful relationships, and to provide accurate information about the transmission of this disease.
We believe that the funding levels authorized by H.R. 2069 reflect the appropriate U.S. share of the international investments needed to meet the global health challenges facing society today.
With best wishes and asking God to bless you, I am
Archbishop of Boston
International Policy Committee
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