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DEVELOPMENT REPORT – November 25, 2002: Gates Foundation Fights AIDS in India - 2002-11-22

This is the VOA Special English Development Report.

The richest man in the world has given India one-hundred-million dollars to help stop the spread of AIDS. Bill Gates released the gift through a special organization that he and his wife started two years ago. The Gates Foundation is in Seattle, Washington. It is near the headquarters of the Microsoft computer company that Mister Gates started and operates.

The Gates Foundation is one of the biggest not-for-profit organizations in the world. It has more than twenty-four-thousand-million dollars. Mister Gates and Microsoft have helped India develop its information technology industry.

Bill Gates announced the one-hundred-million dollar gift in November during a visit to New Delhi. During the next five to ten years, the money will be used to support a program in India aimed at slowing the spread of AIDS and H-I-V, virus that causes the disease.

The program will increase AIDS prevention services to people who continually move across state borders. This population includes truck drivers, builders and people who travel from job to job. Health officials believe this group of people carries the H-I-V virus from state to state. They say it is important to treat this mobile population so that the spread of H-I-V to the general public can be prevented.

The Gates Foundation gift will also help support the work of several government ministries, including Health and Family Welfare, Railways and Labor. India’s government-run AIDS control program will also receive some support.

Health experts believe that H-I-V infections in India could increase sharply if prevention plans are not put into effect. This could have harmful effects on the country’s health, economic and social systems.

The Indian government estimates about four-million adults and children have H-I-V. United States government reports say India could have as many as twenty-five-million AIDS and H-I-V cases by two-thousand-ten. This would be the highest number of cases in the world.

During his visit, Mister Gates said nations that act early enough can prevent the disease from becoming widespread. He said India could be a leader in the world’s fight against AIDS.

This VOA Special English Development Report was written by Jill Moss.