I didnt vote for him, but it would be a shame for this to be overlooked because your all blind with hate.
George Bush announced today that the US plans to spend $30bn (£15bn) over five years in Africa and elsewhere to combat HIV/Aids.
This would make the US by far the biggest single donor to the campaign against HIV/Aids and is in addition to the $15bn Washington has been spending since 2003.
Parts of Mr Bush's policy are opposed by international health organisations, academics, women's groups, European governments and even the administration's financial watchdog. In line with domestic Christian right orthodoxy, a significant proportion of the funds are channelled to religious groups advocating abstinence until marriage and refusing to distribute condoms, an approach regarded as counter-productive and costing lives.
One of the groups critical of Mr Bush's policy, the New York-based International Women's Health Coalition, welcomed the announcement, describing it as "one of his greatest accomplishments".
It also expressed hope that the opportunity would be taken to drop the "abstinence only" approach.
Although the Bush administration's contributions to aid programmes generally have been criticised as stingy by aid organisations, the exception is spending on HIV/Aids.
Mr Bush started the President's Emergency Programme for AIDS Relief (Pepfar) in 2003, with $15m to be distributed over five years. That is due to end next September.
Tony Snow, the White House press secretary, said today that 1.1 million people have received treatment so far but the new funds, to kick in from next September, would provide treatment for about 2.5 million.
Although Mr Bush announced the $30bn, he has to ask Congress to find the money. With the war in Iraq costing billions, it will be hard for Congress to find the sum in an already over-stretched US budget.
Mr Bush made the announcement in a speech in the White House's Rose Garden attended by those involved in the programme, as well as an Aids patient.
Laura Bush, the first lady, is to visit Zambia, Mali, Mozambique and Senegal next month, to see the programme in action. As well as 12 African countries, the programme operates in Haiti, Guyana and Vietnam.
The announcement puts pressure on other members of the G8, meeting in Germany next week, to be more generous than they might have been planning.
Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, is planning to make a statement on HIV/Aids spending in the next few days. Italy has a poor record on contributions, while Tony Blair might opt for a final flourish.
"We'll be watching and waiting," said Bono, lead singer of U2 and co-founder of Data (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa).
About a seventh of all US spending on HIV/Aids goes on "abstinence only" programmes, many of which provide misleading information about condoms, such as emphasising their failure rates.
Reacting to Mr Bush's announcement, Terri Bartlett, vice-president for public affairs at the Washington-based Population Action International, who is in Berlin for the run-up to the G8 meeting, said: "We welcome this and urge Congress to take up the challenge but it also offers a great opportunity to make Pepfar much more effective by correcting policies based on evidence, not ideology."
Dr John Santelli, of Columbia University's school of public health, praised the president, but said he had concerns about the abstinence policy.
"You can't run a good programme if you are sending mixed messages. You advocate abstinence in one place and distribute condoms at a clinic nearby, and the US is funding both."
Bush's Aids pledges
President George Bush's spending on HIV/Aids - $15 billion allocated so far, with another $30 billion promised - is widely regarded as one of the administration's success stories.
The policy, launched in 2003, has also been heavily criticised for pandering to the US Christian right by allocating part of the funding for 'abstinence only' programmes.
The Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies, in a report on the president's HIV/Aids programme published today, said that the latest available figures showed that between 2003 -early 2007, more than 850,000 people had received life-sustaining antiretroviral treatment as a result of US funding.
Although Mr Bush allocated $15bn for HIV/Aids funding between 2003 - 2008, the centre estimated this would in reality be about $18bn and contrasted this favourably with the overall international effort.
It said that annual global spending on HIV/Aids in the developing world from all sources will have risen from $1.6bn in 2001 to $8.3bn in 2004, to over $10bn in 2008.
As of early 2007, the US has provided 61.5 million persons with community outreach activities to prevent sexual transmission of HIV/Aids.
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