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Friday, May 02, 2003

United States lawmakers have voted to triple the amount spent fighting Aids in Africa and the Caribbean to $15bn.

Due to the national security threat Aids poses to many poor countries this bill (unlike earlier ones) does not prevent the giving of American tax dollars to Aids programmes run by international family planning organisations that promote abortion... although as a compromise a third of the funds will be spent encouraging abstinence from sex.

Assistance will be focused on helping Botswana, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda + Zambia in Africa and Guyana + Haiti in the Caribbean.

The funds will also help fight tuberculosis + malaria - diseases which frequently kill people with immune systems weakened by AIDS.

So far Aids has killed approximately 25 million people (8,500 a day in 2002) and by 2010 the death toll is likely to reach 80 million.

To find out more visit the UNAIDS website.

The head of UNICEF, Carol Bellamy has commended the White House for investing in young people by supporting the prevention, care + treatment bill.