The World Bank has announced a four-year strategy for addressing the AIDS epidemic in Africa, Reuters reports (, 5/14/08).

According to the report, the World Bank’s previous AIDS initiatives have focused on emergency responses. But with a $10.7 billion grant from the U.S. Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the bank’s goals have shifted to medical treatment and improved prevention.

It is estimated that 22.5 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are HIV positive.

“With AIDS the largest single cause of premature death in Africa, we can’t talk about better, lasting development there without also committing to stay the course in the long-term fight against the disease,” said Elizabeth Lule, manager of the World Bank’s AIDS Team for Africa.