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There was good news earlier this year about one of the world's most threatening public health problems, when US President George W Bush announced a commitment of US$15 billion to combat the AIDS epidemic in Africa.

But, unfortunately, it is too soon to start cheering, says Donald Kennedy in this week's Science editorial. Not all of the US$15 billion is new money, he notes. And it is unclear both how the money will be allocated, and what rationale is being used to select the countries that will receive it.

Prevention may deserve the first claim on the new money, he says. But in countries such as South Africa – where there is little care for the 20 per cent of adult South Africans who already have the disease – there is also a pressing need to channel funds into treatment.

Link to Science editorial

Reference: Science 300, 1053 (2003)