The Nov. 14 editorial "Faith and Conscience" credited the Bush administration with "fresh thinking" on fighting AIDS globally. It said that funding is "almost on track," but, for some time, the issue has been less the pace of funding than where the money is going.

Ninety-four percent of the funding in President Bush's global AIDS proposal is for U.S.-directed programs. Mr. Bush allocated only 6 percent toward an international effort, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, in which U.S. funds are used to leverage contributions from other nations. This ratio reflects an old-school approach aimed more at showcasing U.S. leadership than at achieving the broadest impact.

Next year the fund may end up so short of money that it will fail to issue any new grants to health programs. Its support for strengthening health systems, critically important given the threat of avian flu, could be stalled.

While many other donors have contributed generously, the United States is breaking the promise made at the Group of Eight summit to fully back the fund. This should not be glossed over. It means millions of people not getting treatment they need -- for AIDS as well as malaria and tuberculosis -- to survive.


Communications Director

Global AIDS Alliance