WASHINGTONPresident Clinton will ask Congress to appropriate an additional $100 million to battle AIDS outside the United States in his budget request for fiscal year 2001. This would raise to $325 million the amount of funding pledged by the United States that year to help foreign nations prevent and treat the disease.
Vice President Al Gore announced the Presidents intentions during a speech before the United Nations. The Administration will also seek an additional $50 million to help many countries purchase vaccines against other infectious diseases, including hepatitis B, some forms of meningitis, and yellow fever.
During a speech in September to the United Nations, President Clinton pledged a comprehensive plan against the international AIDS problem. The White House said the program described by the vice president is a part of that initiative.
The vice president said the new funds are aimed at increasing primary prevention efforts, including mass education programs, community-based counseling and testing services, short-course AZT (zidovudine, Retrovir) treatments to prevent further transmission by HIV-infected individuals, therapy to prevent mother-infant transmission, and implementing screenings of donated blood.
Funds will also help support the care and treatment of HIV-infected individuals and help provide care for children orphaned by AIDS. Other programs will strengthen the public health systems of African and Asian nations, assist them in preventing the spread of HIV among their armed forces, and initiate workplace prevention programs.
Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia bear the impact of the AIDS epidemic, according to a White House statement. An estimated 22.5 million people living below the Sahara are infected with AIDS, and the infection rate there is running at 11,000 a day. Experts are predicting that Asia will soon become the epicenter of the epidemic, the statement said.