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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 12, 2003

President's Radio Address


PRESIDENT BUSH: Good morning. I've spent this week visiting Africa, a continent of great challenge and promise. Throughout this journey and in meetings with leaders of more than 10 countries, I have reaffirmed America's strong commitment to a more peaceful and prosperous future for all the peoples of Africa.

America supports democratic and economic reforms in Africa because we know the power of freedom to lift whole nations and bring new opportunities to millions. And in a time of growing commerce across the globe, we are working to ensure that the nations of Africa are full partners in the trade and prosperity of the world.

Progress in Africa depends on peace and stability, so America is standing with friends and allies to help end regional wars. And against the murderous ambitions of terrorists, the United States and African countries are working in common purpose. We will not permit terrorists to threaten African peoples, or to use Africa as a base to threaten the world.

The United States is also committed to helping African peoples overcome one of the gravest dangers they have ever faced, the spread of HIV/AIDS. And the need is urgent. Across the continent today, nearly 30 million people are living with HIV/AIDS, including 3 million children under the age of 15. In Botswana alone, where I visited on Thursday, nearly 40 percent of the adult population has HIV.

People in Africa are waging a courageous fight against this disease. In another nation on my trip, Uganda, urban and rural clinics are providing vital medical care, counseling, sound and honest information on AIDS prevention. Thanks to caring people and wise government policies, Uganda has dramatically reduced its infection rate. More Ugandan children are growing up with mothers and fathers, and Uganda is reclaiming its future.

The tremendous progress in Uganda is showing that AIDS can be defeated across Africa. Yet current efforts to oppose the disease are simply not equal to the need. More than 4 million people require immediate drug treatment, but just 1 percent of them are receiving the medicine they require. Africa has the will to fight AIDS, but it needs the resources, as well.

Over the next five years, the United States Congress has authorized $15 billion to fight AIDS around the world, with a special focus on 14 nations in Africa and the Caribbean. Working with governments and private groups and faith-based organizations, we will build on the progress in Uganda by establishing a comprehensive system to prevent, diagnose and treat AIDS.

We will support abstinence-based education for young people and provide comprehensive services to prevent millions of new infections. We will provide HIV testing and purchase anti-retroviral medications and other drugs that are needed to extend lives. We will help establish broad and efficient networks to deliver drugs. We will help build, renovate and equip clinics and laboratories. We'll prepare doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals to treat AIDS more effectively. And the resources America provides will also help to hire and train child care workers to look after orphans and provide care at home to many AIDS patients.

This week, a committee of the House of Representatives took an important step to fund the first year of this effort. I ask the Senate to move quickly, as well. And I urge the entire Congress to fully fund my request for the emergency plan for AIDS relief, so that America can help turn the tide against AIDS in Africa.

All of our actions in Africa -- from fighting AIDS to promoting security and prosperity across the continent -- represent the ideals that have always guided America in the world. The United States is committed to the success of Africa, because the peoples of Africa deserve to live in freedom and dignity, and to share in the progress of our times.

Thank you for listening.


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