Bill Clinton Announces AIDS, Malaria Initiatives

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Without treatment, half of children born with HIV die by the age of two, and four out of five die by age five.

WHO estimates that 800,000 HIV-positive children are in need of treatment. At the end of 2007, only 200,000 children had access to treatment.

Some 30 percent of children born to HIV-positive mothers are HIV-positive.

Based on the South African trials, WHO has endorsed immediate treatment of infants that are HIV-positive. UNITAID is funding the William J. Clinton Foundation and other organizations to set up a process to implement the new treatment regimen as fast as possible.


A huge number of children would live because of this decision, Clinton said in Dakar.

"The universal right to health care is nothing if it cannot be implemented," he said.

Clinton said the funding provided by France could be the single most important contribution that country had made to the world since the Second World War.

Most of UNITAID's funding is provided by France from revenue raised in the form of a modest tax on international air tickets.

"France is and will remain at the forefront of the fight against HIV/AIDS," Alain Joyandet, the country's Minister of State for Cooperation and Francophony, said in a statement distributed at the Dakar event.

"We strongly appreciate and support UNITAID and its fruitful partnership with the Clinton Foundation."

UNITAID is to give the Clinton Foundation $200 million over four years to facilitate the new WHO policy, according to Anil Soni, chief executive officer of the U.S. foundation's HIV/AIDS initiative.

"We believe that at least a dozen governments will agree to the new procedure by the end of the year, and all 33 countries that we work in will eventually be doing this," Soni said in an interview.

Clinton ended a weeklong tour of projects supported by his foundation in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Liberia, and Senegal yesterday.

He is scheduled to make remarks at a world conference on HIV/AIDS in México City today.

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