Thursday, September 18, 2003

Fighting AIDS in Africa

Keep promise

The Bush administration says it remains committed to give $15 billion over five years for AIDS prevention in Africa, but it looks as if it is reneging on a highly publicized promise.

The White House has asked Congress for only $2 billion in the coming fiscal year, not the $3 billion authorized in May. Bush says African anti-AIDS programs aren't ready for $3 billion next year and more will be added later.

We agree with rock singer and social activist Bono, who founded DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa). He came out of a Tuesday meeting with Bush believing the president to be passionate about AIDS help, but wrong for withholding $1 billion. The money could prevent 7 million additional infections, Bono said. The need in Africa is urgent. Forty percent of the population is infected in some countries, and prevention programs are working.

During a trip to Cincinnati and the Midwest in December, Bono appealed to the "greatness of America" to help save Africa from an AIDS pandemic.

Now is no time to go wobbly.

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