HHS Secretary Thompson Dedicates HIV/AIDS Field Lab in KenyaHHS Secretary Tommy Thompson on Thursday while visiting Kenya with a U.S. delegation of lawmakers, business people and religious groups dedicated a new $6.4 million HIV/AIDS field laboratory, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Russell, San Francisco Chronicle, 12/5). The U.S. delegation includes Randall Tobias, head of the new State Department Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator, and Richard Holbrooke, president of the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. The 80-person delegation was also scheduled to include UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot, Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Executive Director Richard Feachem, CDC Director Julie Gerberding, NIH Director Elias Zerhouni and NIAID Director Anthony Fauci (Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report, 12/3). According to the Chronicle, the clinic will be operated by the CDC. Gerberding, who is accompanying the delegation, said, "This is clearly an investment that is going to pay off over and over again for global health" (San Francisco Chronicle, 12/5). An estimated 700 Kenyans die each day from AIDS-related causes (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/7).
Thompson and the delegation late on Thursday arrived in Uganda for a three-day visit to examine the country's progress fighting HIV/AIDS, Xinhua News Agency reports (Xinhua News Agency, 12/5). Before Thompson's delegation arrived on Thursday, Ugandan Health Minister Jim Muhwezi, USAID Assistant Administrator for Africa Connie Newman and Joint Clinical Research Center Director Peter Mugyenyi signed an agreement for USAID to provide $6.2 million to Uganda to provide antiretroviral drugs through local organizations, Agence France-Presse reports. Muhwezi said the agreement authorizes a three-year program under which the JCRC -- the largest provider of antiretrovirals in Africa -- will provide treatment through more than 20 public, private and faith-based sites across Uganda to approximately 60,000 people (Agence France-Presse, 12/4).