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World Leaders Mark World AIDS Day

  • VOA News

President Bush says the United States has a duty to act against the worldwide AIDS pandemic.

Mr. Bush made the comment on Friday after a meeting on HIV/AIDS at the White House, to mark World AIDS Day. He called on Congress to reauthorize the Ryan White Act, a law that provides funding to help people struggling with AIDS and HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Earlier, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged world leaders to follow through on their promises to help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.

In a statement released today, Mr. Annan called the HIV/AIDS pandemic the greatest challenge of this generation. But he said the international community has finally begun to take the fight against the virus seriously.

The United Nations says more than 25 million people have died of AIDS since the first case was reported some 25 years ago. It says more than 39 million people are currently living with HIV.

The UN says the virus is the leading cause of death among people between the ages of 15 and 59. It says more than four million people will be infected this year, with nearly two out of three new infections occurring in Sub-Saharan Africa.
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