U.S. Health and Human Services secretary Tommy Thompson, speaking at a World AIDS Day event in Zambia on Monday, said the world is "losing the war" on HIV/AIDS and that both government and business leaders around the world need to better focus on the epidemic. "We appear to be losing the fight against AIDS at the moment," he said. "We need to redouble our efforts. This war has more casualties than any other war as we are losing 3 million people every year. I implore the business community especially to make it possible to garner more resources to help fight this war. The U.S. will take the fight against this war to every corner of the world."
Thompson was in Zambia as part of an 80-person delegation of lawmakers, religious groups, and business leaders visiting Africa to examine HIV/AIDS programs in the region. The delegation--which also includes Randall Tobias, coordinator of the $15 billion, five-year U.S. international AIDS initiative; Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and Elias Zerhouni, head of the National Institutes of Health--also will travel to Rwanda, Kenya, and Uganda. While in Zambia, Thompson signed an agreement providing the country with $2.5 million in U.S. funds for HIV prevention and care over the next five years.