Thursday, December 02, 2010

World AIDS Day 2010

Former President George W. Bush weighed in on World AIDS Day in the form of an op-ed piece.

Many of the world's problems - terrorist networks, criminal gangs, drug syndicates, pandemic diseases - are no more than a half-day plane ride from the United States. These challenges tend to take root in hopeless, poorly controlled areas. This does not mean that promoting health and development is a substitute for confronting immediate threats. It does mean that no national security strategy is complete in the long run without promoting global health, political freedom and economic progress.

Thanks to the initiatives put forth by the Bush administration, many in Africa are alive today despite being HIV Positive.

Early in my first term, it became clear that much of sub-Saharan Africa was on the verge of catastrophe. In some nations perhaps a quarter of the population was infected with HIV. The disease was prevalent among teachers, nurses, factory workers, farmers, civil servants - the very people who make a society run. Drugs to treat the disease existed and were falling in price, but they could hardly be found in Africa. Whole countries were living in the shadow of death, making it difficult for them to plan or prepare for the future.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria was the first program the U.S. joined in the mission to save those with AIDS. According to the website it
"is an international financing institution that invests the world’s money to save lives. To date, it has committed US$ 19.3 billion in 144 countries to support large-scale prevention, treatment and care programs against the three diseases."
President Bush began our involvement in 2001.

In 2003, The American President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief was developed. This program uses the U.S. Congress, leaders of African countries and outside advocates, like singer Bono.

President Bush continues: On this World AIDS Day, considerable progress has been made. The United Nations recently reported that the world has begun to halt and reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS. However, considerable need remains. Every human life is precious, and far too many people around the world continue to suffer from the disease.

I am happily out of the political business. But I can offer some friendly advice to members of Congress, new and old. A thousand pressing issues come with each day. But there are only a few that you will want to talk about in retirement with your children. The continuing fight against global AIDS is something for which America will be remembered. And you will never regret the part you take.

True hope for change. Meaningful change and the promise of a future for those suffering.

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