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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 July, 2003, 15:11 GMT 16:11 UK
Uganda's Aids approach
United States President George W. Bush will come face-to face with Aids sufferers during his brief visit to Uganda on Friday.
Noerine Kaleeba (Image: WHO)
Noerine Kaleeba: Aids patients met by George Bush could soon be dead

One of the leading pioneers of HIV-Aids education and prevention in Uganda, Noerine Kaleeba, says people living with Aids have no access to life-saving anti-retroviral drugs.

And she hopes the American president will be spurred to take immediate action to tackle the disease.

The situation is even more urgent because many of those with Aids he will meet face death in the very near future without treatment with special Aids drugs, she says.


Ms Kaleeba says people living with Aids in Uganda were desperate to know when the $15bn Mr Bush pledged to fight Aids in Africa would be delivered.

1.5m need anti-retrovirals
600,000 adults and children infected with HIV virus in 2001
Infection levels have dropped to 8% of adults from 19%

"This is one of the questions that the young Aids sufferers will be directly asking President Bush".

Some 90% of the 1.5m Ugandans needing anti-retrovirals cannot afford them although prices have fallen drastically because of competition from generic versions.

Uganda has been hailed as an example of how Aids can be tackled with government backing for nationwide prevention efforts.

Ms Kaleeba says that anti-Aids campaigners in Uganda have used what she describes as the "ABC strategy".

Political commitment
Facts and figures on the impact of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa

The strategy involves education on the importance of abstinence, being faithful to one's partner and the use of condoms.

Some 600,000 adults and children were infected with the HIV virus by the end of 2001, according to UN figures.

Aids infection levels have drastically fallen in the past decade, according to the Uganda Aids Commission.

International health agencies say that Uganda's success was a result of political commitment at the highest levels of government, coupled with an openness about the disease.

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