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World AIDS Day: December 1, 2004

TV news report transcript

December first is World AIDS Day. It is a time to remember those who have died from the disease and those who are living with the virus that causes AIDS. World AIDS Day also focuses attention on the impact the AIDS epidemic is having and what is being done to fight the incurable disease.

Researchers with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control say AIDS, and the HIV virus that causes it, continues to be the most important international public health problem of the decade. There is still no cure for AIDS. Worldwide more than 16 million people have died from the disease and more than 16,000 become infected with the AIDS virus daily. The epidemic has left many developing countries unable to cope with the economic and social development costs.

A United Nations report says the world's most affected region is Sub-Saharan Africa where 23 million people are living with HIV/AIDS and 13 million have died. Fifty-seven percent of the people with AIDS in that region are female. Meanwhile, in Africa alone 10,000 people are infected each day with HIV. Researchers say the AIDS epidemic is also having a major impact in other parts of the world like Asia, and Eastern Europe.

According to new research Russia and India are two of the fastest growing countries when it comes to the spread of the disease, and China says it has at least 840,000 living with HIV or AIDS.

In marking World AIDS Day in the United States, health officials in the Bush Administration reaffirmed a commitment made last February by President George Bush to spend 15 billion dollars over five years fighting the AIDS epidemic in more than 100 countries around the world.

Randall Tobias, the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator in Washington says the plan is on track to support treatment for more than 200,000 people in 15 focus nations in Africa, the Caribbean and Asia.


"In meeting this interim goal we will not only contribute to more than doubling the number of people receiving treatment in Sub-Saharan Africa within a one-year period but we are also be on track for our longer term goal of achieving the President's objective of supporting treatment for over two million people in the 15 focus nations by the end of the first five years of the emergency plan."

Researchers say there is some good news to report in the African nation of Uganda where HIV infection rates are down six percent this year due in part to a government public awareness campaign.

Tommy Thompson, head of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, says he is impressed with how Ugandans have responded to regular radio and newspaper messages that encourage abstinence before marriage and faithfulness thereafter.


"They have demonstrated that encouraging and motivating people to take responsibility for their lives, avoid risky behavior, embracing changes in their lifestyles, can keep them safe from AIDS."

World health officials are calling on developed countries to contribute more resources in the fight against AIDS. They say more funding can help achieve two major goals in 2005: a 25 percent reduction in the incidence of HIV infection among 15 to 24-year-olds, and basic care and medicine for at least 75 percent of people world-wide living with the HIV virus.