WASHINGTON – Actor Matt Damon is back from a trip to Africa with a passion for fighting AIDS and praise for President Bush's relief program.
"The work that's being done and the people that I met who are on the front lines there, I just came away feeling like we're going to beat this," he said in a telephone interview Wednesday.
Damon returned April 29 from a six-day trip to Africa. He spent most of his time there in Zambia, which had an HIV/AIDS prevalence rate of 16.5 percent in 2003, according to the CIA's World Factbook. The U.S. prevalence rate was 0.6 percent in 2003.
Damon visited a number of sites including a clinic sponsored by the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, an independent charity.
"You walk into these clinics; you're surrounded by people who are alive and well because of the president's plan and because of this money," he said.
Damon's trip was organized by the DATA Foundation, a nonprofit Africa advocacy group, and the ONE Campaign, a coalition of groups working to fight AIDS and poverty.