Gates Discusses HIV/AIDS With South African President MbekiMicrosoft co-founder Bill Gates on Tuesday met with South African President Thabo Mbeki to discuss HIV/AIDS, the South African Press Association reports. Mbeki said Gates "has the passion and the experience to address the problem" (South African Press Association, 7/11). Gates met with Mbeki after attending a two-day Microsoft Government Leaders Forum for Africa, which former President Clinton also attended in Cape Town, South Africa (AFP/Middle East Times, 7/12). At the conference, both Clinton and Gates discussed the importance of technology in improving health care and development in Africa, London's Financial Times reports. "Technology gives us the chance to [realize] our hopes and dreams," Clinton said (Jack, Financial Times, 7/12). Clinton added that he wished to see new technology applied in 21 countries with high HIV prevalence to help meet the demand for antiretroviral drugs (SAPA/Pretoria News, 7/11). Gates, who is traveling with Clinton in southern Africa this week, said the two "have a lot in common: we are both optimists and are excited about the potential for technology" (Financial Times, 7/12). Gates during his visit to South Africa also assessed projects funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/11).
Clinton, Gates Visit Lesotho To Assess HIV/AIDS Programs
In related news, Clinton and Gates on Wednesday visited Lesotho to review the country's HIV/AIDS situation, AFP/Today Online reports. During the one-day trip, Clinton and Gates visited the Mafeteng government hospital to review progress on HIV/AIDS programs that receive support from the Clinton Foundation and the Gates Foundation. The two toured the hospital and talked with staff and patients at a nearby clinic that provides antiretroviral drugs to more than 1,200 people. Clinton and Gates also met HIV-positive mothers whose children had been tested for HIV with infant diagnostic tools provided by the Clinton Foundation. In addition, the two met community health workers who soon will be trained to provide HIV counseling and testing as part of Lesotho's "Know Your Status" campaign, which was launched in December 2005 (AFP/Today Online, 7/13). The campaign aims to offer an optional HIV test to every resident over age 12 by the end of 2007 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/4). Clinton during the visit urged the people of Lesotho to combat the stigma associated with the disease and to get tested, the AP/Houston Chronicle reports. "Going for testing and knowing your status helps you to plan your future," Clinton said during the visit, adding, "If you are positive, you will be able to get treatment and medication in time to prolong your life" (Thakalekoala, AP/Houston Chronicle, 7/12). Almost 70 people in Lesotho die daily from AIDS-related illnesses, and 6,200 of the 56,000 HIV-positive people in the country who need treatment receive it, according to the government and UNICEF (AFP/Today Online, 7/13).