President George W. Bush says the U.S. is committed "to fight the AIDS pandemic with compassion and decisive action." H-I-V/AIDS, he says, "is a global health crisis":
"At the start of this century, AIDS causes suffering from remote villages of Africa to the heart of America's big cities. This danger is multiplied by indifference and complacency."
According to the United Nations, more than thirty-nine million people around the world are living with either the human immuno-deficiency virus, H-I-V, or full-blown AIDS. In the past year, nearly three-million people have died and more than four-million new infections have been reported.
The U.S., says Mr. Bush, "leads the world in the fight against H-I-V/AIDS." In 2003, the U.S. launched an Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. The five-year, fifteen-billion dollar plan is the largest public health initiative in history dedicated to battling a single disease. In partnership with host nations, the U.S. supports drug treatment for more than eight-hundred-twenty-thousand people living with AIDS in fifteen countries in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.
More than eighteen million people worldwide have benefited from U.S.-supported counseling and testing services. Four and a half million more benefit from care services, including assistance to over two million orphans and vulnerable children.
Through its New Partners Initiative, says Mr. Bush, the U.S. also supports "faith-based and community organizations that offer much of the health care in the developing world." In addition, says Mr. Bush, the U.S. "and other concerned countries are promoting a comprehensive strategy to prevent the spread of H-I-V/AIDS. This includes the A-B-C approach encouraging abstinence, being faithful, and using condoms."
Mr. Bush says the U.S. stands with its "friends and partners around the world in the urgent struggle to fight this virus, comfort those who are affected, and save lives."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.