According to the United Nations 2006 report on the global AIDS epidemic, more than thirty-eight million people live with either the human immune deficiency virus, H-I-V, or full-blown AIDS. In 2005, more than four million new cases were reported and some two-million-eight-hundred-thousand died of AIDS-related illnesses.
Peter Piot is a physician serving as executive director of the Joint United Nations Program on H-I-V/AIDS. He says that that "Goals that seemed impossible to achieve just five years ago have been realized. There is robust political commitment today," he says. But the U-N report says some countries are doing well with treatment but poorly on AIDS prevention.
Attending a U-N conference on AIDS, First Lady Laura Bush called on world leaders to ensure that their people understand how the disease spreads:
"All people need to know how AIDS is transmitted and every country has an obligation to educate its citizens. This is why every country must also improve literacy, especially for women and girls, so they can learn to make wise choices that will keep them healthy and safe."
In 2003, the U.S. committed fifteen billion dollars in a five-year Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief in more than one-hundred-twenty countries around the world. With a goal of treating two-million people, the plan currently supports treatment for more than five-hundred-sixty-thousand men, women, and children in fifteen focus countries – Botswana, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Guyana, Haiti, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam, and Zambia.
The U.S. supports care for nearly three-million people around the world affected with H-I-V/AIDS. This includes assistance to over one-million-two-hundred-thousand orphans and vulnerable children. More than thirteen million people worldwide have benefited from counseling and testing services.
President George W. Bush says that countries "are moving forward with courage and determination." He says, "Nations like Uganda and Kenya have demonstrated that leadership and honesty can overcome stigma and reduce rates of infection. Nations like Botswana and Namibia have shown that anti-retroviral treatments can be widely delivered and highly successful. These countries, and many others," says Mr. Bush, "are fighting for the lives of their citizens -- and America is now their strongest partner in that fight.
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.