View Header


Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release January 10, 2000



New York, NY -- Today, in a speech before the United Nations, Vice President Al Gore will announce that the Administration's FY 2001 budget include a new $150 million investment to assist efforts to combat the international AIDS pandemic and contribute to international infectious disease prevention efforts. This new initiative provides $100 million for preventing and treating HIV and AIDS in Africa, Asia, and other regions of the world -- double last year's increase.

It also dedicates $50 million for purchasing vaccines against other diseases that ravage poor nations, including hepatitis B, certain forms of meningitis and yellow fever, helping to save millions of children. Purchasing existing vaccines is the first step toward accelerating the development and delivery of vaccines for AIDS, malaria, TB, and other diseases disproportionately affecting the developing world. This investment is part of a comprehensive plan for action that will meet the Administration's commitment in this area, as described in the President's September speech to the U.N. General Assembly.

"AIDS and other infectious diseases are the largest catastrophes in the history of modern medicine," Vice President Gore said. "We hope this initiative will provide relief and hope to the millions of children and families around the world."

THE AIDS PANDEMIC THREATENS THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL STABILITY OF SUB SAHARAN AFRICA AND ASIA. The United Nations calls the AIDS pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa "the worst infectious disease catastrophe since the bubonic plague." An estimated 5.7 million people were infected with HIV by the end of 1999, and India may have become the country with the largest number of new infections this year.

ONE THIRD OF ALL DEATHS EACH YEAR WORLDWIDE -- 17 MILLION PEOPLE -- RESULT FROM INFECTIOUS DISEASES. The developing world bears a disproportionate burden of these diseases, which not only destroy lives, but perpetuate the cycle of sickness and poverty. Vaccines have been critical and cost-effective weapons that have eradicated smallpox, reduced polio to the lowest levels in history, and drastically lowered measles rates. Building upon these extraordinary achievements, we must work to ensure that all children have access to effective vaccines.

VICE PRESIDENT GORE UNVEILS NEW, $150 MILLION INITIATIVE TO COMBAT AIDS AND OTHER INFECTIOUS DISEASES. Today, in a speech before the United Nations, Vice President Gore will announce that the President's FY 2001 budget will include a new, multi-million dollar investment in combating the spread of HIV, AIDS, and other infectious diseases in Africa, Asia and other developing countries. This initiative will:

Increasing primary prevention efforts. To reduce the incidence of new HIV infections, this initiative will help to: implement mass education efforts and community based counseling and testing services, provide AZT short-course therapy to infected individuals to prevent further transmission, implement treatment protocols to reduce mother to child transmissions, and implement blood supply screening procedures.

Providing care and treatment for individuals infected with HIV. Currently, treatment options for HIV infected people in sub-Saharan Africa and India are limited; less than 5 percent of people know their HIV status, and health care providers are often without the tools necessary to diagnose and treat HIV and the associated opportunistic infections. This initiative will provide medical and social services to individuals with HIV, including treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, opportunistic infections associated with HIV, and tuberculosis.

Caring for children orphaned by AIDS. Together with host government and social service agencies, this initiative will invest $10 million to provide school fees, food assistance, counseling, basic health care, and other services that orphaned children need through community mobilization programs.

Strengthening the public health infrastructure. This initiative will assist African and Asian institutions in effectively tracking the spread of HIV infections throughout the Sub-Saharan and Asian regions, in order to focus HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment resources and provide training and technical assistance to developing clinics and community based organizations delivering prevention and care.

Assisting armed forces in preventing the spread of HIV within military organizations. The DoD will work with its African counterparts to invest $10 million to prevent the spread of HIV within military agencies throughout Africa.

Initiating HIV prevention programs in the workplace. This initiative will invest $10 million to initiate workplace programs designed to reduce discrimination against employees infected with HIV and AIDS. Funds will also be used to develop partnerships with the business and labor communities to launch HIV prevention activities for employees, their families and communities.

Initial contributions to this fund will be used to purchase existing vaccines for hepatitis B, haemophilus influenzae B, and yellow fever, along with related safe injection equipment. Vaccine purchases will be administered through UNICEF, which runs an efficient immunization program today.

This fund is one step toward encouraging the development and delivery of new vaccines. The developed nations have the scientific and technological capacity to make new vaccines possible, and a renewed international commitment to purchase vaccines will encourage private research and development. The Administration is now developing further proposals to accelerate the invention and production of new vaccines, and to increase investment by developing nations in building sound delivery systems for vaccines, medicines, and other basic health services.