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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release July 19, 1999



Washington, DC -- Vice President Al Gore today joined Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy Sandra Thurman, Members of Congress, and leaders of the African-American, religious, children's, and AIDS communities to announce that the Administration will seek the largest-ever United States budget increase in the global battle against AIDS -- a new investment of $100 million. The Vice President also unveiled a new report from the Office of National AIDS Policy that assesses the AIDS crisis in Africa and recommends this investment. In addition, the Vice President announced new efforts to encourage other public and private entities across the world to address global AIDS.

"AIDS in Africa is the worst infectious disease catastrophe in the history of modern medicine," Vice President Gore said. "More than twenty million people are now infected and nearly 500 more become infected each hour. We hope this initiative will not only provide much-needed relief but will inspire decisive action by other countries and institutions -- and bring hope to the millions trapped in this children and families trapped in this horror." The Vice President:

RELEASED A NEW REPORT ON THE PRESIDENTIAL MISSION ON CHILDREN ORPHANED BY AIDS IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA. Last December, President Clinton directed the Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy to go on a fact-finding mission to assess the problem of HIV/AIDS in Africa. Today, the Vice President is releasing the report that includes new findings and a plan of action resulting from this mission. The report finds that:

AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa is one of the largest health crises in the history of the world. In the past decade, twelve million people in sub-Saharan Africa have died of AIDS -- one quarter of them children

Millions of children will be orphaned by this epidemic. In some areas up to one-quarter of all children already live with an HIV-positive parent. In the next decade, more than forty million children in sub-Saharan Africa will lose a parent to HIV/AIDS.

This epidemic has a devastating impact on many aspects of life in sub-Saharan Africa. AIDS is undermining much of the progress in development that has been made in Africa. AIDS is reducing life expectancy by more than 20 years in some countries. Many children are dropping out of school to care for dying parents undermining improvements in education, and AIDS will continue to have a major impact on the economy, hitting a range of professionals, from teachers to military to business leaders.

UNVEILED NEW $100 MILLION INITIATIVE TO COMBAT HIV/AIDS IN AFRICA. The Vice President also unveiled a new initiative to double the existing efforts to prevent and treat AIDS in Africa and move forward on four critically important and interconnected fronts including:

Containing the AIDS Pandemic. A new $48 million initiative will be used to implement a variety of prevention and stigma reduction strategies including: HIV education; engagement of political, religious and other leaders; voluntary counseling and testing; blood supply screening, and, interventions to reduce mother-to-child transmission (MTCT). In addition, the Department of Defense (DoD) will begin new efforts to work with African militaries to provide educational material and training on AIDS prevention.

Providing Home and Community-Based Care. This $23 million investment will be used to deliver counseling, support palliative and basic medical care including treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, opportunistic infections, and tuberculosis (TB) through community-based clinics and home-based care workers and enhance training and technical assistance efforts.

Caring for Children Orphaned by AIDS. This new $10 million initiative will be used to assist families, extended families, and communities in caring for their children through nutrition assistance and related programs.

Strengthening Prevention and Treatment by Augmenting Planning, Infrastructure, Disease Surveillance, and Capacity Development. This $19 million initiative will help strengthen host country ability to plan and implement effective interventions. It will also strengthen the capacity for effective partnerships between local government and community based organizations. Strengthen local surveillance systems to track the spread of HIV infection, AIDS, and the effects of interventions to enable the best targeting of HIV/AIDS prevention programs.

This United States Government investment would be provided through AID ($55 million), HHS ($35 million) and DOD ($10 million) and will be fully offset.

ENGAGING OTHER PARTNERS TO ADDRESS THIS CRISIS. Addressing the crisis of AIDS will require a broad-based commitment from public and private partners across the globe. The Vice President also unveiled a series of new initiatives to enhance efforts to address this problem including:

Multi-lateral Partners Meeting to Enhance Coordination Around the World. On September 7, 1999, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton will convene a meeting of donors, The World Bank, UNAIDS, international foundations, CEOs and others to discuss how we can best enhance and coordinate our AIDS efforts in Africa and around the world.

A United Nations Conference on Children Orphaned by AIDS. The United Nations, in conjunction with the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, The White House Office of National AIDS Policy, The Magic Johnson Foundation and a variety of NGOs, will organize a conference on World AIDS Day to focus attention on the growing number of children orphaned by AIDS worldwide, with a special emphasis on sub-Saharan Africa.

New Partnerships with Private Sector Leaders to Address This Crisis, Such As the Religious, Business and Labor Communities.