Obama offering new plan to combat HIV/AIDS

Obama pushes for payroll tax extension

(CBS/AP) On Thursday - World AIDS Day - President Obama is renewing the U.S. commitment to ending HIV and AIDS.

PICTURES - HIV/AIDS in global spotlight for World AIDS Day

Administration officials said the president would set a goal of getting antiretroviral drugs to 2 million more people around the world by the end of 2013. In addition, the U.S. will aim to get the drugs to 1.5 million HIV-positive pregnant women to stop them from passing the virus to their children.

Obama will announce the initiatives at an event in Washington. Former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton will also speak at the event via satellite.

The new global goals build on the work of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which focuses on prevention, treatment and support programs in 15 countries hard-hit by AIDS, including 12 in Africa. Bush launched the $15 billion plan in 2003. In 2008, Congress tripled the budget to $48 billion over five years.

Obama is also announcing new initiatives to stop the spread of HIV in the U.S. Officials said he would direct the Department of Health and Human Services to raise funding for domestic HIV and AIDS treatment by $50 million. The White House said 1.2 million Americans are infected with HIV, with 50,000 new infections each year.

The bulk of the new funding - $35 million - will go to state programs that help HIV/AIDS patients get medicine. There are now more than 6,500 Americans living with the virus on waiting lists for medication, according to the White House.

The rest of the domestic funds will go to HIV medical clinics across the nation, with an emphasis on areas where infections have risen, and care and treatment are not readily available. Officials said the additional clinic funding would give 7,500 more patients access to treatment.

Officials from both parties praised the new initiatives, and commended Democratic and Republican presidents for coming together for the announcement.

"Here's what we can do when we work together. We've got leaders of both political parties standing behind something that works," said Gayle Smith, Obama's senior director for development and democracy at the National Security Council.

AIDS.gov has more on AIDS.

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