President Bush on the Importance of Fighting HIV/AIDS

December 1, 2010 By Jane Kaminski

Former President George W. Bush called for renewed attention to combating HIV/AIDS in the Washington Post in honor of World AIDS Day.  “America has a direct stake in the progress and hope of other nations,” he said, noting that combating HIV/AIDS can have a major impact in improving lives, economies, and security around the world that goes beyond improvements in public health.  Many of the global threats we face today, such as terrorism, drug trafficking, and pandemics, “tend to take root in hopeless, poorly controlled areas,” where suffering can be mitigated through support for global health. 

Demonstrating the important role global health initiatives play in our national security, he said, “America has a direct stake in the progress and hope of other nations,” and “no national security strategy is complete in the long run without promoting global health, political freedom and economic progress.” 

President Bush stressed the need to continue our commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS, which is funded by our International Affairs Budget.  He said, “On AIDS, to stand still is to lose ground.”  He noted a recent United Nations study, which found the spread of AIDS is slowing and beginning to reverse, but millions still require treatment, many have not yet received adequate treatment, and still more people need to be educated on prevention.  Why do we do this?  Combating HIV/AIDS goes beyond our global health and national security interests.  It demonstrates, in his words, that “America is a certain kind of country, dedicated to the inherent and equal dignity of human lives” and “it is this ideal – rooted in faith and our founding – that gives purpose to our power.”

As a new Congress is about to begin, Bush directly urged members to think about their legacies and what they want to be remembered for once they retire from Capitol Hill.  He closed saying to them, “The continuing fight against global AIDS is something for which America will be remembered. And you will never regret the part you take.”