Bush Tells Botswana U.S. Will Be Its Partner in Fighting AIDS
July 11, 2003
"You will not face this enemy alone," President Bush pledged Thursday to Botswana, the nation with the worlds highest AIDS infection rate. Bushs remarks in Gaborone were greeted with chants of "Pula! Pula!" ("all good things").Adapted from:
More than 38 percent of Botswanas adult population is HIV-infected. While Bush described Botswana as being in the forefront of African countries in dealing with the epidemic, its infection rate has remained level since 2001. US officials acknowledged that even with aggressive prevention and treatment programs, like those in Botswana, progress in turning the tide against AIDS has been agonizingly slow.
"Botswana is directly confronting HIV/AIDS and taking bold steps to overcome this crisis," Bush said in a luncheon toast to Botswanan President Festus Mogae. "We applaud your leadership." Mogae has set in motion a program to provide free AIDS medicines to all who need them. The program is funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Landlocked, Texas-sized Botswana has been hailed as a model of good governance and development for the rest of the continent. The nation is rich in diamonds and has a stable government, and its status as a model of democracy and economic growth is one reason it was chosen by the White House to be a stop on Bush's African tour. But Mogae said that AIDS threatens that progress. Bush called AIDS, which has killed 17 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, "the deadliest enemy Africa has ever faced."
Prior to his half-day stay in Botswana, Bush visited Senegal and South Africa. The president concludes his tour with stops in Uganda and Nigeria before returning to Washington this weekend.
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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.