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New Deal to Fight AIDS in South Africa Signed

by Sheela Philomena on August 9, 2012 at 1:23 PM
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 New Deal to Fight AIDS in South Africa Signed

Hillary Clinton signs a new deal supporting efforts to fight AIDS in South Africa.

"South Africa and the entire region has a brighter and healthier and more secure future," she said while visiting a clinic in the Cape Town township of Delft.

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"Even as we take a moment to say 'well done', we cannot make the mistake of thinking that our job is done," she said. "The disease is still very dangerous."

The United States has spent $3.2 billion since 2004 supporting South Africa's fight against AIDS. The new five-year agreement gives South Africa's government more control over the spending.
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"Some people may hear 'South Africa is in the lead' and think that it means that the US is bowing out," Clinton said. "Let me say this clearly: the US is not going anywhere."

"The partnership is changing for the better," she said. "Our goal is no new patients -- zero."

The agreement highlights South Africa's shift from an international pariah on AIDS, under former president Thabo Mbeki, who refused to believe the scientific evidence that AIDS is caused by a virus -- to a celebrated one.

Now the country runs the world's largest AIDS treatment programme, with more than 1.3 million people receiving drugs, out of a total infected population of 5.6 million.

The rate of newborns catching the disease from their mothers during childbirth has fallen from 8 percent in 2008 to 2.7 percent last year.

Source: AFP
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