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Thursday, 14 November, 2002, 17:26 GMT
India 'can prevent Aids epidemic'
Bill Gates in India
Bill Gates: Spreading the message about Aids

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates says there is still time for India to take steps to prevent an Aids epidemic in the country.

Mr Gates, who was participating in a health programme in the southern city of Hyderabad, said his charity, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was ready to increase its assistance to the state of Andhra Pradesh in the health sector.

Map showing Hyderabad

Andhra Pradesh is the second worst affected by Aids amongst all the states in India.

After visiting a health clinic and reviewing the progress of an immunisation programme, Mr Gates said the Aids epidemic was creating a crisis the world over.

But he said that in India there was an opportunity for taking steps early on to stop it from becoming a crisis.

'Changing behaviour'

He said an Aids vaccine would take another 10 years to be ready and until then his foundation was ready to fund efforts to prevent the spread of HIV, the virus which can lead to Aids.

But he said the key was in people changing their behaviour.

Mr Gates, accompanied by the state's Chief Minister, N Chandrababu Naidu, visited a health centre at Shadnagar, about 50 km south of Hyderabad.

The foundation has given $25m to the state for a five-year-long programme of vaccination against Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis and other deadly diseases.

Mr Gates said at the end of this programme, his charity would extend more funds to the state.

The chief minister praised Mr Gates and his charity for their assistance in the vaccination programme.


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14 Nov 02 | South Asia
11 Nov 02 | South Asia
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07 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
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30 Nov 00 | Asia-Pacific
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