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Bush Calls for AIDS Fight with Condoms, Abstinence, Fidelity

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Monterrey, Mexico (dpa) - U.S. President George W. Bush Tuesday urged the leaders of the Americas to battle the spread of AIDS in their countries using three methods: abstinence, fidelity and condoms.

Speaking on the second day of the special Americas summit in Monterrey, Bush said the programme known as ABC (Abstinence, Be faithful, use Condoms), was taken up in Uganda, a country devastated by AIDS, and he called on nations in the Americas to install similar plans.

The U.S. leader also urged nations to work together, for those who can provide money to take the leadership in education. He said work is needed in prevention and also in treatment.

Bush said Washington was anxiously awaiting to work with other regional governments in the battle against AIDS, and he mentioned his pledge to provide 15 billion dollars in the next five years to worldwide battle against AIDS.

The "Declaration of Nuevo Leon", the summit final document to be issued later Tuesday, includes a commitment by 34 Americas nations to guarantee that all HIV carriers or AIDS sufferers have access to retroviral medications.

The clause obliges governments to lower high prices for such medications and to provide them free of cost to needy patients.

Brazil's policy in AIDS treatment and prevention was "inspiring" for the rest of the Americas nations when the "Declaration of Nuevo Leon" was drafted, a source said.

Brazil was one of the first countries in the world, and the first in the hemisphere to provide retroviral medications free of cost to all AIDS sufferers. This policy led it to produce or buy from third countries, copy-cat drugs breaking international patent laws.

A recent World Trade Organization ruling has exempted poor nations in health emergencies from patent laws.

Bush said that leaders have worked to obtain retroviral medications at low prices, but now leaders must distribute those drugs efficiently.

Copyright 2004 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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