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Bush Announces Treatment Numbers, New Initiative on World AIDS Day

U.S. program brings AIDS treatment to 400,000 Africans

Posted: December 2, 2005 Related item: "Keep the Promise" is this year's World AIDS Day theme  

President George W. Bush speaks Thursday, December 1 in Washington joining the international recognition of World AIDS Day. U.S. assistance to the world's most AIDS-afflicted nations includes life-saving medicines for approximately 400,000 people, eight times the number receiving treatment two years ago, Bush says. (State Dept. photo by Janine Sides)

President George W. Bush speaks Thursday, December 1 in Washington joining the international recognition of World AIDS Day. U.S. assistance to the world's most AIDS-afflicted nations includes life-saving medicines for approximately 400,000 people, eight times the number receiving treatment two years ago, Bush says.

Washington – President George Bush joined the international recognition of World AIDS Day December 1 with an announcement of successes and new initiatives in the U.S. contribution to the global struggle against the epidemic.

U.S. efforts to increase assistance to the world’s most AIDS-afflicted nations are now delivering life-saving medicines to approximately 400,000 people, eight times the number receiving treatment three years ago, Bush said.

In 2003 the United States launched the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), making a five-year, $15 billion commitment to scale up AIDS treatment, prevention and care.

The president made this announcement with Thandazile Darby and her two children seated behind him. They are South Africans with HIV who are now receiving treatment under PEPFAR.

“Thandazile's late husband's relatives tried to support her treatment for as long as they could, but the cost was too high,” Bush said. “Thanks to the Emergency Plan funds, the Darbys began to get the treatment they desperately needed. Soon these children will start school -- and now their mom dreams that someday they will attend college.”

Joined by first lady Laura Bush, many members of his Cabinet and members of Congress in a White House ceremony, the president announced a new component of PEPFAR called the New Partners Initiative to promote greater U.S. partnership with faith-based and community-based organizations as they work to treat and support HIV-infected persons, and prevent further transmission of the disease.

“We will further reach out to our faith-based and community organizations that provide much of the health care in the developing world and make sure they have access to American assistance,” Bush said. “By identifying and supporting these organizations, we will reach more people, more effectively and save more lives.”

A Ugandan physician who has been a U.S. partner in scaling up AIDS treatment also participated in the World AIDS Day event. President Bush introduced Dr. Peter Mujenyi, who has received U.S. support to open clinics for treatment of AIDS patients.

“Today there are 35 sites, many of them in remote rural areas that provide treatment to 35,000 of his countrymen,” said Bush. The president praised Dr. Mujenyi for his leadership and his compassion in combating the disease, and extended that admiration to all the medical workers and community activists in the 15 countries that receive special focus under PEPFAR as home to approximately half of the 40 million people living with HIV.

On World AIDS Day, Bush said the United States renews its commitment to confront the global health crisis of AIDS and “turn the tide” on the epidemic.

The transcript of the president’s remarks is available on the White House Web site.

The National Institutes of Health, the agency leading the U.S. research effort on treatments and vaccines, issued a World AIDS Day statement on the progress in this mission.

In addition, the U.S. Agency for International Development, an important partner in enacting PEPFAR programs, issued a summary of its progress in fighting the pandemic.

Additional information about World AIDS Day is available on the World AIDS Campaign Web site.

For more information, see HIV/AIDS.

Charlene Porter
Washington File Staff Writer

 

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