THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
STATEMENT BY THE VICE PRESIDENT
I am extremely pleased about today's encouraging news on a promising new treatment to reduce the transmission of HIV/AIDS from mothers to children. This new study, being released today by the National Institutes of Health and their counterparts in Uganda, indicates that the use of nevirapine (NVP) is twice as effective as a short-course of zidovudine (AZT). Moreover, it is far more affordable --- at least seventy times lower in cost than a short course of AZT and 200 times less expensive than a long course -- and easier to administer.
I believe that we must address the growing crisis of HIV/AIDS, in this nation, in Africa, and around the world. Each and every hour, another 16,000 persons are infected with HIV worldwide, most in the poorest nations. This treatment to help reduce the likelihood of a mother passing along HIV to her child during pregnancy or delivery is a critical new weapon in the ongoing battle against HIV/AIDS. With this treatment, millions of children can start life free from this deadly disease.
While we well understand that drugs alone are not the solution for countries that lack the systems to adequately provide them, all of us who have been searching for hope in this terrible epidemic should be encouraged by this promising news. I salute the scientists here and in Uganda, as well as the thousands of volunteers that made this study such a success. Now, together, we must take new steps to strengthen our commitment to stop both here and across the globe to fight HIV/AIDS: millions of lives depend on it.