updated 12/1/2008 10:53:05 AM ET 2008-12-01T15:53:05

President Bush says his presidential initiative has already met its goal of treating two million people with the deadly AIDS disease in sub-Saharan Africa.

The White House said on World Aids Day that when the administration launched the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief in 2003, the goal was to support two million people with lifesaving anti-retroviral treatment in five years.

Standing with first lady Laura Bush on the North Lawn near a giant red ribbon to mark the occasion, Bush said the goal has been exceeded — and ahead of schedule. Bush said the program — known as PEPFAR — is providing “hope and healing” to people around the world.

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