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5/18/03 - BUSH ON H-I-V/AIDS - 2003-05-20

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome -- AIDS -- is caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or H-I-V. It has caused more than twenty-million deaths worldwide. In Africa, the most affected continent, nearly thirty-million people are living with H-I-V/AIDS, including three million under the age of fifteen.

President George W. Bush has asked the U.S. Congress to allocate fifteen-billion dollars over the next five years to fight the spread of AIDS and care and treat those living with H-I-V/AIDS. Mr. Bush said that the U.S. “has the duty to confront this grave public health crisis”:

“Since January 2001, America has increased total spending to fight AIDS overseas nearly one-hundred percent. We’ve already pledged more than [one-and-a-half] billion dollars to the global fund to fight AIDS and other infectious diseases. It is by far the most of any nation in the world today.”

President Bush said that while AIDS poses a terrible threat, it can be prevented and treated:

“In Uganda, President [Yoweri Kaguta] Museveni has begun a comprehensive program in 1986 with a prevention strategy emphasizing abstinence and marital fidelity, as well as condoms, to prevent H-I-V transmission. The results are encouraging. The AIDS infection rate in Uganda has fallen dramatically since 1990.”

“Fighting AIDS on a global scale,” said President Bush, “is a massive and complicated undertaking”:

“Yet, this cause is rooted in the simplest of moral duties. When we see this kind of preventable suffering, when we see a plague leaving graves and orphans across a continent, we must act.”

The U.S. is committed to integrating prevention with care and treatment to help people already affected by AIDS.