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National News

Bush Touts African AIDS Triumphs

July 8, 2003

As President Bush embarks on a five-day tour of Africa, the continent's AIDS crisis -- to which he has pledged $15 billion over the next five years -- is high on his agenda. Bush says his plan will prevent 11 million new infections, treat 2 million cases, and help care for 10 million orphans. Three of the countries Bush will visit -- Uganda, Senegal and Botswana -- are emerging as models in the AIDS fight to which the president will likely look as he implements his program.

On a continent where some countries are facing HIV infection rates of more than 30 percent, Senegal's modest rate of 1.4 percent is no small achievement. Senegal was one of the first African countries to combat the epidemic aggressively. Behavior modification campaigns urged youths to delay their first sexual experiences or use condoms. Christian and Muslim religious leaders were encouraged to help educate the public. Prostitutes were targeted with safe sex campaigns and were frequently tested for HIV and STDs. Senegal is not one of the countries targeted for Bush's new funding -- that money will go to the hardest-hit African nations, along with parts of the Caribbean.

Uganda is the country most associated with stemming the tide of AIDS in Africa. An aggressive information campaign is credited with driving its HIV infection rate down to 8 percent from 14 percent in the early 1990s. Yoweri Museveni, Uganda's rebel-turned-president, was one of the first African leaders to speak openly about AIDS. His administration launched awareness campaigns and the continent's first voluntary counseling and testing centers.

Like many other countries, Botswana long ignored the AIDS epidemic. This resulted in the world's highest infection rate: 38 percent. But last year Botswana, a diamond-rich nation with a tiny population, launched Africa's first free antiretroviral program.

Back to other CDC news for July 8, 2003

Previous Updates

Adapted from:
Christian Science Monitor
07.08.03; Nicole Itano

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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.
See Also
More on HIV/AIDS in Africa