A report by the U.S. State Department documents progress in the fight against AIDS.
Since 2003, the United States has allocated fifteen billion dollars for AIDS relief with a special focus on fifteen countries in Africa, the Caribbean, and Asia. Together, these countries account for approximately one-half of the world's forty-million people infected with the H-I-V virus that causes AIDS.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice highlighted the results achieved by the U.S. in supporting life-extending antiretroviral treatment:
"Two years ago, only fifty-thousand people in all of sub-Saharan Africa had access to antiretroviral [drug] treatment. By the end of last year, the Emergency Plan had expanded treatment in that region to four-hundred-thousand people, plus an additional seventy-one-thousand individuals worldwide. It is especially worth noting that sixty percent of those new people being treated are women."
Since the relief plan took effect, one partner organization in Uganda has expanded from one to twenty-five sites that provide AIDS treatment, and the number of Ugandans it serves has risen from one thousand to thirty-five thousand. According to Secretary of State Rice, "Prevention is the first line of defense":
"The hallmark of our preventive effort is the A-B-C approach: abstain, be faithful, and correct, consistent use of condoms."
Another focus of prevention is to help pregnant women protect their babies from H-I-V/AIDS. During the past year in Vietnam, the number of women who received support for the prevention of mother-to-child H-I-V transmission increased from one-thousand-two-hundred to more than seventy-thousand. Secretary Rice also notes that the U.S. has supported "counseling and testing for over nine-million-four-hundred-thousand people":
"That is the beginning of a transformation from despair to hope. . . . The Emergency Plan is helping to build partnerships with foreign families, communities, and nations, and during 2005 these partnerships extended compassion and care to over one-million-two-hundred-thousand orphans and vulnerable children, helping them to go to school, to get the food they need, in short, to be children."
"H-I-V/AIDS is a global health crisis," says President George W. Bush. The danger, he says is multiplied by indifference and complacency. But this danger, says Mr. Bush, "will be overcome by compassion, honesty, and decisive action."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.