Former president Bill Clinton said Tuesday that HIV/AIDS and terrorism are both threats to world stability and must be stopped. Speaking in Oslo, the former president said if AIDS cases rise from 40 million to 100 million worldwide in the next decade as projected, it would become more than a matter of public health. "We could have massive political instability. We could get more terror, more violence," he said. "And it's crazy, because this is 100% preventable." He said democracies could collapse in places like former Soviet republics and the Caribbean. "If you believe in democracy and you believe in freedom and if you want more partners and fewer terrorists, the rest of the world has to do something about the problem," Clinton said.
Asked if AIDS is a greater threat than terrorism, Clinton said the illness affects more people but that both have to be dealt with.
Last month Clinton announced that he had secured a deal with four generic-drug companies to provide low-cost AIDS drugs for developing nations. That deal came after his William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation helped three Indian companies and one South African firm find ways to cut costs.
In Oslo, Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik said the oil-rich Nordic country of 4.5 million people agreed to cooperate with the foundation in the African countries of Tanzania and Mozambique.
Norway already supports AIDS/HIV programs in those countries and will continue to channel support directly to them, reaching between U.S. $20 million and $25 million within five years.
Clinton said that when he left office, he decided to campaign against AIDS as a global problem. "When I became president in 1993, America had the biggest [AIDS] problem in the world. Everybody has forgotten that," he said. "In my second term, it became obvious to me that I had, in trying to deal with it properly at home, not done enough abroad."