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Health

Clinton says he'll give $10M to AIDS fight

Donation will buy drugs for children in developing countries


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Bill Clinton said he expects the funds from his foundation to leverage additional contributions.
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- Former President Bill Clinton announced Monday that his foundation will donate $10 million to expand treatment for children with AIDS in the developing world.

The new initiative will deliver AIDS drugs, known as antiretroviral treatment, or ART, and technical assistance for an estimated 10,000 children in at least 10 nations by the end of the year.

The pediatric AIDS medication will be made available at half the normal cost, with the help of India-based drug company Cipla.

The foundation's initiative makes AIDS drugs available for as little as $140 a year, so "treatment and care is now available and more affordable in the developing world," Clinton said.

The initiative will concentrate on rural areas and will double the number of HIV-infected children being treated in developing countries besides Thailand and Brazil, Clinton said.

His foundation also will help extend AIDS treatment in rural Africa, Clinton said, expanding a program administered by Partners in Health in Rwanda to Tanzania and Mozambique.

"One in every six AIDS deaths each year is a child," Clinton said, "yet children represent less than one in every 30 persons getting treatment in developing countries today."

He said he expects his foundation's multimillion dollar contribution for the pediatric and rural programs to leverage additional funding commitments by governments and international donors.

Clinton was joined by U.N. officials for the announcement. He said his foundation would work with UNICEF to reach another 50,000 children with AIDS next year.

Peter McDermott, head of HIV/AIDS projects for UNICEF, called Clinton's step "groundbreaking."

And Paul Farmer of Partners in Health said it will be efforts like this private-public partnership "that make the difference."

An estimated 39 million people are living with HIV, according to the United Nations. More than 2 million are children. Three million people died of AIDS last year and more than 5 million were infected.

Clinton's foundation has previously brokered deals with major drug companies to make AIDS testing and treatments available at substantially reduced cost in the developing world.


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