AIDS Conference: Clinton and Gates defend Bush program

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Bill Clinton
Bill Gates

On Tuesday, at the XVI International AIDS Conference in Toronto, Canada, both former President Bill Clinton and Microsoft founder/chairman Bill Gates defended President George W. Bush and his Adminstation's PEPFAR program.

Clinton said that the United States is spending more to fight HIV than any other government. He did criticize the program, saying that 33% of PEPFAR funds are dedicated to abstinence-only programs. Clinton said he does not believe that abstinence-only programs work. Also, he spoke out against a US law that requires organizations that apply for PEPFAR funds to pledge to oppose prostitution.

"I wish they would just amend the law and say 'we disapprove of prostitution but here's the money - go save lives'," said Clinton.

"The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief has done a great deal of good, and President Bush and his team deserve a lot of credit for it," Gates said.

PEPFAR, which Bush unveiled in 2003, is to spend $15 billion over five years in 15 target countries. It provides medicine to HIV patients, distributes condoms and funds programs run by many aid groups. It is the largest international health initiative in history initiated by one nation to address a single disease.

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