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Clinton Expresses Concern Over HIV In Uganda, Stops In Malawi On 11-Day African Tour

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “expressed concern” over Uganda’s increasing number of HIV infections on a visit to the country last week, part of an 11-day trip to eight African nations, Uganda’s New Vision reports (Mukasa, 8/4). According to the Observer, Clinton “said while America recognizes the strides Uganda made in the 1990s when HIV prevalence dropped from 20 percent to seven percent, prevalence is now rising.” PEPFAR is the largest donor for HIV programs in the country, the newspaper notes, adding that “[t]he U.S. government recently committed $25 million to help Uganda eliminate mother-to-child HIV transmission and … [m]ore than 300,000 Ugandans are receiving treatment through PEPFAR” (Mwesigye, 8/5). “The reversal is particularly disappointing to health experts given the time and attention that have been focused on AIDS here, and the billions of dollars spent,” the New York Times writes (Kron, 8/2). “I am hoping that we can work together to make prevention the focus again. We are going to review our strategy because we want to emphasize what will work,” Clinton said, according to the Observer (8/5).

According to the Washington Post, Clinton also visited Malawi, where “U.S. officials say about one in 10 Malawians is infected with HIV or has AIDS,” but “the rate has fallen from 13 percent over five years, and innovative prevention and treatment programs extend through much of the country.” Though Clinton “said little about the [AIDS] epidemic during a one-day visit … her very presence as the first U.S. secretary of state to visit Malawi was a mark of regard for the new government of President Joyce Banda, a women’s rights activist who has backed aggressive HIV-prevention programs,” the newspaper writes (Gearan, 8/5). The State Department provides transcripts of Clinton’s remarks at the Mbuya Health Center in Uganda and her remarks at a PEPFAR event in Malawi, as well as a fact sheet regarding U.S. support for HIV/AIDS in Uganda.