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Obama Announces $100 Million For HIV Research

U.S. President Barack Obama has announced a new initiative to increase research into a cure for HIV.

President Obama says his administration will redirect $100 million to the National Institutes of Health to develop a new generation of therapies to fight HIV and AIDS.

Mr. Obama made the announcement in Washington on Monday to mark World AIDS Day, which was Sunday.

"The United States should be at the forefront of new discoveries into how to put HIV into long-term remission without requiring lifelong therapies, or better yet, eliminate it completely."

The president also pledged that the United States would contribute up to $5 billion to fight HIV/AIDS over the next three years as long as the rest of the world contributes $10 billion. The money will go to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

President Obama said a major goal of a U.S. AIDS program begun by his predecessor George W. Bush was reached this year. That program, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, has helped six million people around the world gain access to anti-retroviral drugs.

Mr. Obama has faced criticism from AIDS activists over what they call lagging U.S. contributions to PEPFAR, down 12 percent since 2010. PEPFAR began in 2003 with a $15 billion U.S. commitment.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday the world is turning a very important corner in the fight against AIDS, but he said the fight is not yet won.

"There is major challenge ahead and it will require major continued commitment in order to complete the task and live up to the memory that we want to honor of all of those for whom it was too late."

World AIDS Day has been held on December 1 every year since 1988. HIV/AIDS campaigners say World AIDS Day is important because it reminds the public and governments that AIDS has not vanished.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 35 million people are living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.

More than 25 million people have died globally from HIV/AIDS since 1981, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.

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