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DEVELOPMENT REPORT - For World AIDS Day, Leaders Are Urged to Keep Their Promises

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This is the VOA Special English Development Report.

World AIDS Day is December first. The message that the World AIDS Campaign has chosen for the two thousand five through two thousand ten observances is "Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise." The promise is a goal world leaders set in two thousand to halt the spread of AIDS by two thousand fifteen.

This year is the twenty-fifth anniversary of the first recognized cases of H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS.

The United Nations reported last week that the AIDS epidemic continues to grow. It says there will be almost three million AIDS-related deaths this year and more than four million new infections.

There were signs of reduced infection rates in some countries, but also evidence of renewed increases in others.

Mark Dybul at a recent briefing for VOA reporters
Mark Dybul at a recent briefing for VOA reporters

Mark Dybul was sworn in last month to lead the Bush administration program known as the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Ambassador Dybul says the administration is on target for keeping its promises to fight AIDS.

President Bush announced the five-year, fifteen-thousand-million-dollar plan during his State of the Union speech in two thousand three. Efforts have centered on fifteen nations in Africa, the Caribbean and Asia. They represent about half of the world's estimated forty million H.I.V. infections.

American officials say that last year, more than eighty percent of groups working with the United States against H.I.V./AIDS were local. U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Mark Dybul says these partnerships should not be considered donor-recipient relationships.

He described them at a recent meeting with VOA reporters as a chance for unified equal involvement. He says the United States can help. But to win the war against H.I.V./AIDS, he says, each country must take ownership of its individual fight.

The United States says it will spend about three hundred eighty million dollars this year on prevention programs in targeted countries. Officials say four hundred eighty million will go to care programs. And more than eight hundred sixty million will go to support treatment with antiretroviral drugs.

Critics have accused the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief of being slow to provide money to support its programs. Mark Dybul says this criticism is baseless. President Bush has asked Congress for more than four thousand million dollars in AIDS spending for two thousand seven.

And that's the VOA Special English Development Report, written by Jill Moss. You can learn more about AIDS and other issues facing developing countries at www.unsv.com. I'm Steve Ember.

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