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World AIDS Day Marks Day of Both Sadness and Hope, Says Bush

President Bush is urging Congress to approve the doubling of the U.S. commitment in the global fight against HIV and AIDS.

Mr. Bush Friday said he was confident that U.S. lawmakers would show leadership by authorizing his proposal to spend $30 billion over the next five years.

Mr. Bush spoke after meeting in a Maryland church with AIDS activists from various religious communities.

He said World AIDS Day is a time of both sadness and hope. The day is marked around the world each year on December 1.

He said those who have lost their lives to HIV/AIDS are mourned, while there is hope for improvements in the lives of those who are infected, and in eradicating the infection.

Mr. Bush also announced he and his wife Laura Bush will travel to sub-Saharan Africa early next year.

In a statement for World AIDS Day, the head of UNAIDS, Peter Piot, said there is still a serious shortfall in resources for AIDS, and stigma and discrimination surrounding the disease continue to prevail.

UNAIDS last week lowered its estimate of worldwide HIV infections, saying 32.7 million people were living with the virus in 2006 - nearly seven million fewer than previously estimated. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.

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