Some €70 million will be spent on Aids treatment and education in Mozambique and Lesotho under an agreement between the State's Irish Aid programme and the Clinton Foundation, it has been announced.
Minister of State at Irish Aid Conor Lenihan today gave the Dáil full details of how the funds will be spent under the partnership with the foundation set up by former US president Bill Clinton.
"Our relationship with the Clinton Foundation means that Irish Aid funds go considerably further in tackling the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa," Mr Lenihan said.
"Over the past three years the foundation has dramatically reduced the price of anti-retroviral treatment for people in countries where HIV/AIDS is at crisis levels."
He said the Irish Aid funding will go directly to the provision of services in Mozambique (€60 million) and Lesotho (€10 million).
Mor than 16 per cent of adults in Mozambique are infected with HIV, the virus that causes Aids. Resources from Irish Aid have helped the country provide HIV treatment through its public health services.
And work by the Clinton Foundation has helped reduce the cost of anti-retroviral treatment from around $18,000 to $180 per patient per year, Mr Lenihan said.
Over 27,000 people were on HIV treatment programmes at the end of June, but this figure represents just 10 per cent of those who need treatment.
The Irish Aid funds will be channeled through Ireland's missions in each country to their ministries of health.
Irish Aid representatives will meet their counterparts from the Clinton Foundation on a regular basis to review cooperation and ensure the continued success of the partnership, Mr Lenihan said.
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Bill Clinton recently signed a new agreement to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa. Ireland is now the largest country donor to the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative.