President George W. Bush on Thursday, World AIDS Day, called for funding increases for HIV/AIDS programs.

Bush signed the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in 2003. The program focuses on 15 countries hit hard by the pandemic, 12 of them in Africa. Congress increased PEPFAR's initial $15 billion budget to $48 billion in 2008.

Bush, who is currently in Tanzania on the first stop of an African philanthropic tour, spoke via satellite at a panel to commemorate World AIDS Day.

“I understand we're in tight budget times,” Bush said. “I mean the wealthy nations are going through budgetary struggles. And when you go through a budgetary struggle it seems like to me the best thing to do is set priorities and to focus on that which is effective.”

“There is no greater priority – and this is something our American citizens must understand and our government must understand – there is no greater priority than living out the admonition: to whom much is given, much is required. We're a blessed nation in the Untied States of America and I believe we are required to support effective programs that save lives.” (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)