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DEVELOPMENT REPORT – February 10, 2003: President Bush’s AIDS Proposal - 2003-02-07

This is the VOA Special English Development Report.

President Bush has announced a new program to help fight AIDS and the H-I-V virus that causes it. If approved by Congress, the plan will provide fifteen-thousand-million dollars over the next five years. The money will pay for AIDS drugs, education, doctors and special laboratories. Most of the money will be spent in fourteen countries that have about fifty percent of all H-I-V and AIDS cases around the world.

Twelve of the nations are in Africa. They are Botswana, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. The plan will also include AIDS projects in Haiti and Guyana in the Caribbean.

The World Health Organization estimates that forty-two-million people are infected with H-I-V or AIDS around the world. Seventy percent of the victims are in southern Africa.

President Bush announced the program during his State of the Union message in January. The plan is designed to provide drugs for two-million AIDS patients. It will provide care for ten-million patients and for children whose parents died from the disease. It will also support education efforts to help stop the disease from spreading.

Administration officials say half of the fifteen-thousand-million dollars will be used for treatment. One-third will be spent on prevention. This includes programs to teach people about the use of protective condoms during sex. The remaining money will be used to care for patients.

Some AIDS activists criticized the president’s plan. They say the plan does not include countries where AIDS is spreading quickly, such as China and India.

Other people criticized the plan for not working more closely with international groups, such as the United Nations Global Fund to Fight AIDS. The goal of this organization is to guarantee that money from rich countries is used to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Under the Bush plan, the Global Fund would receive only about one-thousand-million dollars.

White House officials say President Bush wants to give money directly to countries that are best prepared to develop large prevention, care and treatment programs quickly. They say the President’s plan is a major change in policy for the Administration and an important step in the right direction.

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