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Nov 19, 2013 5:43 PM by AP

House approves extension of program to combat AIDS

WASHINGTON (AP) - The House is joining the Senate in approving an extension of a program established by President George W. Bush to fight the global spread of AIDS and other diseases.

By a voice vote, the House approved a bill extending the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR. The Bush-era program expired at the end of September. Established in 2003, PEPFAR has been successful in combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, particularly in Africa.

The Senate passed the bill by voice vote on Monday. It will now go to President Barack Obama.

The measure reauthorizes PEPFAR through 2018. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the extension will cost about $15 million from 2014 through 2018, though that money would have to be approved in a separate funding bill.

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