Senate OKs extension of program to combat AIDS

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WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate has approved an extension of a program established by former President George W. Bush to fight AIDS worldwide.

By voice vote, lawmakers on Monday backed the bill to continue the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, known as PEPFAR. The program, which has been successful in combatting HIV/AIDS, especially in Africa, expired on Sept. 30.

Sens. Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Bob Corker of Tennessee sponsored the legislation that they say ensured that almost 6 million people received antiretroviral treatment and more than 11 million pregnant women received HIV testing and counseling last year.

Bush announced the program in 2003. The bill would extend programs on oversight and coordination while modernizing other elements.

The measure now heads to the House, where it is expected to pass easily.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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