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December 1, 1998

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Eleven years ago, on the first World AIDS Day, we vowed to put an end to the AIDS epidemic. Eleven years from now, I hope we will be able to say that the steps we are taking today led us to that great day.

President Bill Clinton
December 1, 1998

Today, President Clinton is joined by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Brian Atwood to commemorate World AIDS Day by launching a series of new initiatives to address the growing crisis of HIV/AIDS around the world, particularly the millions of children orphaned by AIDS.

The Need To Help Children Orphaned By HIV/AIDS. Over 33 million people around the world are now living with HIV or AIDS, with another 5.8 million becoming infected every year. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) projects that up to 40 million children will be orphaned by HIV/AIDS by the year 2010, with more than 90 percent of those children living in developing countries with few resources to provide care and support. In the United States, as many as 80,000 children already have been orphaned by AIDS.

Increasing Research Into HIV/AIDS. The President will announce an increase in funding by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on research to prevent and treat HIV around the world. NIH will undertake the largest single public investment in AIDS research in the world by supporting a program that will include:

  • $200 million for research on AIDS vaccines to prevent transmission around the world, a 33 percent increase from last year and a critical part of meeting the President's challenge to develop an effective AIDS vaccine;
  • $164 million for other research critical to addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic around the world, including a new prevention trials network to reduce adult and perinatal transmission of HIV/AIDS; new strategies to prevent and treat HIV infection in children; funding to train more foreign scientists to collaborate on this epidemic; and research on the prevention and treatment of opportunistic infections, such as tuberculosis, that commonly kill people with HIV/AIDS;

Supporting New Initiatives To Address The HIV/AIDS Epidemic. At today's event, the President also:

  • Unveils $10 million in emergency relief funding at USAID to provide support for AIDS orphans. In addition, USAID will take steps to help prevent the spread of HIV from mothers to children and to improve medical care for children already infected with HIV;
  • Asks AIDS Policy Advisor Sandra Thurman to lead a fact-finding delegation to raise awareness and make recommendations to address the growing problem of AIDS orphans in Sub-Saharan Africa;
  • Highlights new steps to address the continued need of those living with HIV/AIDS in the United States. The President will emphasize an announcement by Vice President Gore, who will release $200 million in funds for the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) program this year to assist communities around the country to prevent individuals affected by HIV/AIDS and their families from becoming homeless.

Building On A Record Of Commitment And Achievement In the Fight Against HIV/AIDS. Today's announcements build on a deep and ongoing commitment by the Clinton Administration to respond to the AIDS crisis in the United States and around the world. This year alone, the President:

  • Declared HIV/AIDS in racial and ethnic minority communities to be a severe and ongoing health care crisis and unveiled a new $156 million initiative to address this problem; and
  • Worked with Congress to secure historic increases for a wide range of effective HIV/AIDS programs, including, a $262 million increase in the Ryan White CARE Act; a 12 percent increase in AIDS research funding at the NIH; a $32 million increase for HIV prevention programs at the CDC; and a $21 million increase in the Housing Opportunities for People With AIDS (HOPWA) program at HUD.

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