For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
June 27, 2007
Interview of Mrs. Bush by FOX News, Fox and Friends
Q With the United States strong commitment to helping countries in need, First Lady Laura Bush is leading the fight against deadly diseases in Africa. She joins us live from Mozambique, the capital city there, to discuss the differences being made in the region.
Good morning to you, Mrs. Bush.
MRS. BUSH: Good morning, Steve.
Q It's great to have you. I know yesterday you were busy announcing the President's initiative on malaria. And I know a lot of emphasis is on HIV and AIDS, but with malaria, that is a -- that's a disease spread by insects, and so many lives can be saved for such a small amount of money.
MRS. BUSH: That's right, Steve. Malaria is actually the leading cause of death in many African countries. And malaria is treatable and is preventable. We eradicated malaria in the United States around the middle of the last century, just around 1949. And we did it with a very concentrated effort, both spraying for insects, for mosquitoes; and here, American people, if they wanted to just give $10, could buy a mosquito net, an insecticide-treated mosquito net that mothers could put above their babies when they sleep at night, and sleep under them, themselves, and save a life. There's a great website that people can go on to find out what all we're doing in the United States about malaria, it's called malarianomore.org. And I want to urge people to look there.
But you're right, the President started the President's Malaria Initiative and I got to announce a grant today -- a big grant, a $2 million grant that will go here to pastors and imams out in the villages to work with their faith-based groups to make sure people have nets and that they do this inside spraying for mosquitoes.
Q Well, with all that money you should be able to buy a lot of nets -- they're only $10 per household and, as you said, they can save a life. And I know that with malaria tablets, I think they're $3 for a month's worth of them, and you can save a life, as well, for that.
MRS. BUSH: That's right.
Q Okay. Now, later on today you've got more on your agenda. Tell us what you're up to.
MRS. BUSH: Well, of course, it is actually later on today here in Mozambique. I've already been to a hospital this morning, a pediatric hospital where I saw mothers and their babies and their children, who are both HIV-positive. They have a great program that is called Positive Tea. It's actually a tea time to bring mothers together to support each other. There is still a great stigma against AIDS here in Mozambique and in many countries across Africa, so people don't want to reveal their status; they don't even really want to know if they're HIV-positive. But it's very important for people to be tested.
In fact, today is National Testing Day in the United States. And it's also important for people to make sure they're tested in the United States. We think there are around 250,000 people in the United States who are HIV-positive and don't know it. So the CDC is trying to encourage people to make AIDS testing, which is a very easy swab of the mouth test, part of your regular health exam.
Q Yes. But you know what, Mrs. Bush? I think a lot of people who should be tested, they're afraid of the answer -- they're thinking, I might have it and I don't want to know that bad news.
MRS. BUSH: I know, but the great news is there are treatments now, anti-retroviral treatments. People live a very healthy and productive life if they're treated.
The other really important point is, if you know you are positive then you can protect your loved ones and make sure that you don't spread HIV. And that's important here in Africa; it's important all over the world that people get tested, they find out what their status is. And then if they are positive, to both go on anti-retrovirals and to protect their partners.
Q That is such a good point. We thank you so much for taking time out of your mission over in Africa, Mrs. Bush, for dropping by the Fox and Friends Show.
MRS. BUSH: Thank you, Steve.