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George W Bush urges Africa to fight HIV because ‘people die of stigma’

August 6, 2014

George W Bush has called on African governments to do more to tackle HIV at the Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington.

“People die of stigma, there’s too many people not being treated because of false rumours,” the former US president said during the event today.

His visit came as President Barack Obama met earlier with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, days after the country’s anti-homosexuality law was struck down.

Mr Bush did not mention LGBT rights or homophobic persecution in his public remarks.

The Hill reports he did however urge for women in Africa to receive better access to HIV treatment.

“One of the best ways to help children is to help their mothers live to raise them,” Mr Bush said.

The Republican made fighting HIV in Africa a major part of his presidency.

His administration sent more than $15 billion to African countries to prevent the spread of the virus.

Speaking at last month’s International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Bill Clinton warned that laws against same-sex activity throughout Africa and in many other parts of the world undermined the fight against HIV.

“We need to redouble our efforts to combat stigma and prejudice,” the former US president said.

“Unbelievably, stigma is on the rise in some places.”

As president, George W Bush endorsed a constitutional amendment seeking to ban same-sex marriage in 2004.

He refused to be drawn on the subject of equal marriage in an interview with ABC News last year.

Laura Bush, who has famously disagreed with her husband over the issue, announced her support for the measure in 2010, during an interview on CNN.

Barack Obama became the first sitting US president to back marriage equality in May 2011.

 

More: Africa, Africa, George W Bush, HIV, US

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