President Obama pledged during a World AIDS Day event in Washington to help 6 million people in countries hardest hit by the virus, promising them better access to antiretroviral drugs by the end of 2013, increasing the original goal by 2 million. “We can beat this disease,” he declared, adding that "countries that haven't made a pledge need to do so. That includes China and other major economies that are now able to step up as major donors." His plan builds on former president George W. Bush’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief in 2003. Obama also announced plans to boost spending on HIV treatment in the U.S. by $50 million. There are some 1.2 million Americans living with HIV, according to the White House, and 50,000 people are infected every year. The bulk of the new funding will go to state programs that help patients get access to medicine.
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