During a campaign speech by Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry at Temple University in Pennsylvania on Friday, an audience member heckled Kerry, asking him to address the issue of AIDS. Kerry responded:
"This is not in my speech, but I'm going to answer that gentleman's question, because it's a perfect segue for where I find myself. Several years ago, three or four years ago, I joined with Sen. Bill Frist in a bipartisan effort and we cochaired the effort on AIDS, because AIDS is the great moral challenge and the great pandemic across this globe. We've got 4 million people, 5 million people have died of it. We've got 40 million people infected, and it's moving. It's not a question of Africa. It's a question of South Asia, India, China, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, all across the world--and it destroys human infrastructure. We laid out a comprehensive approach that dealt with treatment, dealt with prevention, dealt with retroantiviral drugs that can help prevent the passage from mother to child, dealt with creating the human infrastructure so we could stand up and lead. And we called and...we passed with Jesse Helms's support, who cosponsored it. We passed it in the Senate, but the ideological resistance of this administration has stopped it. The president has stood up and said he's going to provide $15 billion, and guess what--only a few hundred million have been released, only $200 million to the Global Fund. The Global Fund has no confidence in America. America is losing its moral authority because we don't step up on issues like AIDS. I will. I will lead America on these issues."