The Canadian government and U.S. philanthropist Bill Gates have announced a multimillion-dollar initiative to combat the AIDS virus.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Gates announced the Canadian HIV Vaccine Initiative in Ottawa, Canada's capital, Tuesday.

Mr. Harper says the Canadian government will contribute about $95 million and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is expected to contribute about $24 million.

The money will be used to build a new research facility in Canada that will focus on producing a vaccine to help fight HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

The United Nations estimates close to three million people died from AIDS in 2006.

Forbes magazine says Bill Gates, the chairman of Microsoft, is the world's richest man, with a fortune estimated at $53 billion.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.