We write to you today as member communions of Church World Service, connected to over 50 million Protestant, Anglican and Orthodox Christians in the United States. Founded in 1946, Church World Service is the relief, development, and refugee assistance ministry of 36 Protestant, Orthodox, and Anglican denominations in the United States. Working in partnership with indigenous organizations in more than 80 countries, CWS works worldwide to meet human needs and foster self-reliance for all whose way is hard.
As you begin to take action on the FY 2004 appropriations bills, we urge you to fully fund the United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act of 2003. This bill promises to fund FY 2004 global programs on the three diseases at $3 billion, including as much as $1 billion for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria. At the same time, it is critical to safeguard the seven core development assistance and humanitarian aid accounts and to fully fund the President's Millennium Challenge Account. The President's trip to Africa presents us as a nation with the opportunity to demonstrate that we are willing to fund our promises.
Any successful global effort to curb these three diseases will require strong international support for the Global Fund. In its first two rounds of grants spanning five years, the Global Fund is ensuring care and support for 500,000 AIDS orphans and vulnerable children, protection from malaria with insecticide-treated bed nets for 30 million Africans, and providing anti-retroviral drugs in Africa to 500,000 people living with HIV/AIDS.
Today, there are 42 million people living with HIV/AIDS. Between six and nine million people in developing countries are in critical need of anti-retroviral drugs. At current rates, there will be more than 25 million orphans globally from AIDS. For only $1 per day, we can extend the life of a person living with AIDS by many years and help prevent the creation of some orphans. This year, half a million newborns will become infected by HIV during childbirth, yet we can cut the possibility for transmission in half for less than the cost of a Sunday newspaper. Five million people become infected every year due to the lack of prevention education and the knowledge to protect themselves. Clearly, a continuum of prevention, care and treatment programs is necessary to stem the AIDS crisis.
By providing the full funding that has been authorized, you will be creating a solid foundation for our global response to AIDS, TB, and Malaria. We urge you to act decisively.
The Rev. Dr. Stan Hastey
The Alliance of Baptists
The Rev. Dr. A. Roy Medley
American Baptist Churches USA
The Rev. Dr. Richard L. Hamm
General Minister and President
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada
The Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church, USA
The Rev. Mark S. Hanson
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The Rev. David L. Wickmann
President Moravian Church
Moravian Church in America
The Rev. Dr. Clifton Kirkpatrick
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
The Rev. Dr. Tyrone Pitts
Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc.
The Rev. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson
Reformed Church in America
The Rev. John H. Thomas
General Minister and President
United Church of Christ
Bishop Melvin G. Talbert
Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Church
His Eminence Archbishop Dimitrios
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America