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Obama Pledges to
Expand Domestic AIDS Plan

Obama Pledges to
Expand Domestic AIDS Plan

President-elect Barack Obama said Monday he would continue outgoing President Bush's international HIV/AIDS strategy and expand domestic efforts to fight the virus.

President-elect Barack Obama said Monday he would continue outgoing President Bush's international HIV/AIDS strategy and expand domestic efforts to fight the virus.

"We must also recommit ourselves to addressing the AIDS crisis here in the United States, with a strong national strategy of education, prevention, and treatment, focusing on those communities at greatest risk," Obama said in a video address to the Saddleback Civil Forum on Global Health. "This strategy must be based on the best available science, and built on the foundation of a strong health care system."

The Obama administration plans to implement national strategies to decrease the rate of HIV transmission, including establishing a universal health care system, targeting minority communities, and supporting the Ryan White CARE Act. The plan also calls for comprehensive, age-appropriate sexual education, in contrast to Bush policies that withdrew funding from organizations that did not teach abstinence-only education.

Globally, Obama said the federal government will provide at least $50 billion by 2013 to fight AIDS around the world, at least doubling the number of people who are treated for the virus. He also promised to push for distribution of less-expensive generic drugs and invest in other nations' infrastructure problems that increase the rate of transmission like water conditions, and debt reduction.

Obama said, however, that the battle against the epidemic could not be fought simply with more funding or with government intervention. "We must do our part," he said. "This year's slogan, 'Stop AIDS, Keep the Promise' is a timely one. In the Apostle Paul's message to the Corinthians, he asked, 'If the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will go to battle?'" (Michelle Garcia, Advocate.com)

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