U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick to Assess HIV/AIDS Impact in Botswana as Part of a Tour of Sub-Saharan Africa
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick today will begin a tour of sub-Saharan Africa that will include a visit to Botswana to "assess the impact" of HIV/AIDS in the country, the South African Press Association reports (South African Press Association, 2/14). Zoellick today will leave Kenya, the first stop on his three-nation tour, and head to South Africa, where he will meet with members of the Southern African Development Community on Saturday and with South African Trade and Industry Minister Alec Erwin on Monday. "No U.S.-Africa trade program can be effective without taking account of the impact HIV/AIDS is having on the continent," Zoellick said. The goals of Zoellick's visit to sub-Saharan Africa are to encourage trade between the United States and the region, to further "common objectives" in the World Trade Organization and to explore the possibility of a free trade pact with southern Africa (Agence France-Presse, 2/14). Next week, Zoellick will visit Botswana to "see for himself" what the Botswana Harvard Institute HIV Reference Laboratory is doing to fight HIV/AIDS. Researchers at the laboratory -- which is funded in part by the Botswanan government and U.S. drug company Bristol-Myers Squibb and is "one of the largest and most sophisticated" HIV research centers -- conduct epidemiological and laboratory research on the prevention of vertical HIV transmission and the development and testing of HIV treatments and vaccines. Botswana, where 36% of the population aged 15 to 49 is HIV-positive, has "one of the world's highest" incidences of HIV (South African Press Association, 2/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.