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Clinton, Australia launch tri-nation AIDS campaign

Former US Prez Bill Clinton and Australia have announced plans to combat AIDS in China, Vietnam and Papua New Guinea.

india Updated: Feb 22, 2006 15:19 IST

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and Australia have announced plans on Wednesday to combat AIDS in China, Vietnam and Papua New Guinea, warning that 40 percent of all new infections could be in the Asia-Pacific region by 2010.

Australia, through its main aid arm AusAID, and the Clinton Foundation signed memorandum of understanding under which Australia would contribute A$25 million ($18.5 million) over the next four years.

The money would be supplemented by an undisclosed amount from Clinton Foundation and would be used to make anti-retroviral drugs for the treatment of HIV/AIDS readily available and to improve testing and monitoring systems in the three countries.

Clinton said that the partnership would focus in part on providing treatment for children infected with the disease in Vietnam and Papua New Guinea.

He said about 500,000 children had died of AIDS around the world in 2005.

"The idea that these children are dying like flies and people like us, with the money we have, are walking away from them and not keeping them alive is inexcusable," Clinton said.

The Clinton Foundation has recently announced HIV/AIDS programmes in India, the second-worst affected nation after South Africa, as well as tied up with nine drug companies to help cut the cost of testing and treatment in 50 developing countries.

"There is clearly a moral imperative to do something about this," Clinton said.

"There are places in Africa, and indeed there are villages in rural China, where there are no young adults left," he added.

First Published: Feb 22, 2006 15:19 IST