Ugandan's Key to White House: AIDS
June 11, 2003
The White House used President Bush's Tuesday meeting with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to showcase a central part of Bush's agenda -- the $15 billion global AIDS bill that Congress approved last month. Bush is hoping to use the bill to highlight what his advisers say is the human side of his administration's foreign policy.Adapted from:
Bush praised Museveni for his "extraordinary leadership on HIV/AIDS." Administration officials say Uganda's ability to turn around its AIDS epidemic -- 5 percent of Ugandans now have AIDS, compared to 15 percent a decade ago -- served as inspiration for Bush's AIDS bill by persuading him that AIDS money could be well spent in Africa. It is not clear whether Bush will stop in Uganda on his trip to Africa next month.
The bill was largely based on Uganda's ABC campaign, which promotes abstinence, being faithful, and condoms. In the United States, the ABC approach has been politically palatable to Bush's conservative base because of its emphasis on abstinence. "It doesn't use the distribution of condoms as the first line of defense," said Ken Connor, director of the anti-abortion Family Research Council.
Privately, Bush pressed Museveni on Uganda's role as a weapons supplier to militias in Congo's five-year-old civil war, according to senior administration officials. The armies of neighboring countries and their proxy militias have run rampant through Congo, and the fighting, massacres, famine and disease have caused an estimated 3.3 million deaths. Although Ugandan troops pulled out of Congo last month under a negotiated peace agreement, Uganda has still been supporting militias and political groups in the region. According to an official, Bush was adamant that Museveni disengage. Museveni told the president "we're out and we're done with it," said the official, who took Museveni's remarks to mean he would no longer support Congolese militias.
New York Times
06.11.03; Elisabeth Bumiller
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.