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Fighting AIDS

The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government:

With support from the American people, a new clinic in Jeremie, Haiti, is supplying free medicine to patients infected with HIV. The virus is the cause of AIDS, a disease that in 2004 killed more than twenty-five-thousand Haitians.

Today, as many as two-hundred-eighty thousand Haitians are infected with HIV/AIDS. Many require life-prolonging drug therapy. With such therapy, they can continue to live productive lives and support their families.

The clinic in Jeremie is the second of fourteen HIV/AIDS treatment centers in Haiti that are opening this year with U.S. funding. Haiti is one of fifteen countries receiving special attention under the U.S. Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, launched in 2003. The others are Botswana, Ethiopia, Guyana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam, and Zambia.

According to the United Nations, between 1981 and 2003, twenty-million people died from AIDS. Today, more than thirty-nine-million people are infected with the AIDS virus. More than twelve-million children in Sub-Saharan Africa have been made orphans by AIDS. And as of December 2004, women accounted for forty-seven percent of people living with HIV.

In addition to providing drugs, the U.S. is funding the training of health-care workers and medical laboratory personnel. And it supports programs to educate people about how to avoid getting or spreading AIDS. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee of the importance of funding AIDS-related programs in the coming year:

"The United States must stay at the forefront of the global fight against HIV/AIDS. We are requesting three-billion-two-hundred-million dollars in total U.S. funding for care, treatment and prevention efforts."

President George W. Bush says, "There's nothing better than a hopeful society in dealing with the [AIDS] pandemic. A hopeful society means you think you can win. A non-hopeful society says, I surrender." The U.S., says Mr. Bush, "is not going to surrender to the [AIDS] pandemic."