World Aids Day: Obama in $50m Aids funding boost

President Barack Obama: "We are going to win this fight - but the fight's not over"

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The US is making $50m (£32m) of new funding available for HIV/Aids clinics and drug assistance schemes, President Barack Obama has said.

"This fight isn't over," Mr Obama said. "Not for the 1.2m Americans who are living with HIV right now."

Mr Obama also pledged to increase access to antiretrovirals in hardest-hit countries by the end of 2013.

The World Aids Day announcement comes as a report shows that global funding for HIV programmes fell in 2010.

"The rate of new infections may be going down elsewhere, but it's not going down here in America," Mr Obama told a World Aids Day event in Washington.

"When new infections among young, black, gay men increase by nearly 50% in three years, we need to do more to show them that their lives matter."

"When black women feel forgotten even though they account for most of the new cases among women, we need to do more."

Former Presidents George W Bush and Bill Clinton also participated in the World Aids Day event via satellite.

Mr Bush said World Aids Day was a time to "celebrate success", but more needed to be done.

Mr Clinton said he too was concerned about rising infection rates in the US. "I am very worried that the death rate is going to go up in America simply because of the budgetary constraints on the states," he said.

Bipartisan push

Other initiatives backed by the US aim to bring antiretroviral drugs to 1.5 million HIV-positive pregnant women to prevent them from passing the virus to their children, and to distribute more than one billion condoms in the developing world.

Irish singer Bono welcomes the US Aids initiative

Also included is funding for 4.7 million voluntary male circumcisions in eastern and southern Africa, which research has shown reduces the risk of female-to-male transmission by more than 60%.

The US-based funding will include $35m for state medicine programmes that help people living with HIV and Aids. According to the Obama administration, more than 6,500 Americans are on waiting lists for medication.

The rest of the domestic funds - $15m - will go to HIV/Aids medical clinics, especially to areas where infections have increased and treatment is not readily available.

Funding for Aids research and treatment has been a topic of emphasis for recent Democratic and Republican presidents.

"Here's what we can do when we work together. We've got leaders of both political parties standing behind something that works," said Gayle Smith, the senior director for development at the National Security Council.

In 2003, then-President Bush launched a $15bn plan for Aids relief, and in 2008, US Congress tripled the budget to $48bn over five years.

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