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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 1, 1998

                            December 1, 1998

Today, President Clinton will join Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Brian Atwood, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), to commemorate World AIDS Day by launching a series of new initiatives to address the growing crisis of HIV/AIDS around the world, particularly the millions of children orphaned by AIDS. The President will unveil historic increases in funding for research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) designed to develop an effective AIDS vaccine and prevention strategies to help address the problem of HIV/AIDS throughout the world. He will announce new emergency funding from USAID to support international AIDS orphan programs. In addition, he will direct his AIDS policy advisor, Sandra Thurman, to lead a delegation to Sub-Saharan Africa to assess the growing problem of AIDS orphans and recommend new strategies for responding to the crisis.

USAID projects that up to 40 million children will be orphaned by HIV/AIDS by the year 2010, over 90 percent of whom live in developing countries with few resources to provide for their care and support. Over 33 million people around the world are now living with HIV or AIDS, with another 5.8 million becoming infected every year. As with so many epidemics, children and young people bear much of the terrible burden of AIDS. In the United States, as many as 80,000 children already have been orphaned by AIDS.

Increases in funding by the National Institutes of Health for research to prevent and treat HIV around the world. The National Institutes of Health will undertake the largest single public investment in AIDS research in the world by supporting a comprehensive program of basic, clinical, and behavioral research on HIV infection and its related illnesses. This program will include:

$200 million -- a 33 percent increase from last year's funding -- for research on AIDS vaccines to prevent transmission around the world. The development of a safe and effective AIDS vaccine is critical to stemming the growing problem of HIV/AIDS and AIDS orphans internationally. The President will announce that NIH will dedicate $200 million to vaccine research in Fiscal Year (FY) 1999, a $47 million or 33 percent increase over FY 1998 and an 100 percent increase over FY 1995. This investment is critical in meeting the President's challenge to develop an effective AIDS vaccine.

$164 million for other research critical to addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic around the world. The President also will announce that NIH will invest $164 million in FY1999, a $38 million increase over last year, in critical research projects aimed at reducing the number of AIDS orphans by preventing and treating HIV/AIDS internationally. These projects will include: a new prevention trials network to reduce adult and perinatal transmission of HIV/AIDS; new strategies to prevent and treat HIV infection in children; funding to train more foreign scientists to collaborate on this epidemic; research on the prevention and treatment of the opportunistic infections, such as tuberculosis, that commonly kill people with HIV/AIDS; and research on topical microbicides and other female-controlled barrier methods of HIV prevention.

$10 million in USAID emergency relief funding to provide support for AIDS orphans. USAID will make available $10 million in emergency funding to support community-based efforts for orphans in the countries most affected by this problem. These efforts will include training and support for foster families, initiatives to keep children in school, vocational training, and nutritional enhancements. In addition, USAID will take steps to help prevent the spread of HIV from mothers to children and to improve medical care for children already infected with HIV.

AIDS Policy Advisor Sandra Thurman to lead fact-finding delegation to raise awareness and make recommendations to address growing problem of AIDS orphans. President Clinton will ask Sandra Thurman, Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy, to lead a fact-finding delegation early next year to Sub-Saharan Africa, where 90 percent of AIDS orphans reside. The delegation will include representatives from key Congressional offices. Its goal will be to raise awareness of this emerging problem and to develop recommendations for action.

New steps to address the continued needs of those living with HIV/AIDS in the United States. While the problem of HIV/AIDS is particularly acute internationally, the President will underscore the impact of HIV/AIDS on families in this country as well. The President will highlight an announcement today by Vice President Gore of more than $200 million in funds this year for the Housing Opportunities for People With AIDS (HOPWA) program to prevent individuals affected by HIV/AIDS and their families from becoming homeless. The Vice President will announce these grants at a meeting with local community leaders who provide housing and other support services for people living with HIV/AIDS and with several individuals and families who have benefited from these services.

A solid record of achievement in HIV/AIDS. Today's announcements build on a deep and ongoing commitment by the Clinton Administration to respond to the AIDS crisis both in the United States and across the world. The Administration has fought for other critical investments in HIV/AIDS. This year alone, the President:

      Declared HIV/AIDS in racial and ethnic minority communities 
      to be a severe and ongoing health care crisis and unveiled 
      a new $156 million initiative to address this problem.  This 
      initiative included crisis response teams, enhanced prevention 
      efforts, and assistance in accessing state-of-the-art therapies.

      Worked with Congress to secure historic increases in a wide 
      range of effective HIV/AIDS programs.  Increases this year 
      alone include: a $262 million increase in the Ryan White CARE 
      Act; a 12 percent increase in AIDS research funding at the NIH, 
      totaling nearly $1.8 billion; a $32 million increase for HIV 
      prevention programs at the Centers for Disease Control and 
      Prevention; and a $21 million increase in the Housing 
      Opportunities for People With AIDS (HOPWA) program at HUD.