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UN conference to assess HIV-AIDS programs worldwide

by Staff Writers
United Nations (AFP) May 29, 2006
A United Nations conference opening this week will assess AIDS and HIV programs on the world level, 25 years after the scourge appeared and went on to take 25 million lives.

The three-day UN General Assembly special meeting on HIV-AIDS opens Wednesday, with the participation of UN agencies, UN member states and nearly 800 non-governmental groups representing civil society.

United Nations figures show that some 40 million persons are living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, 90 percent of whom reside in developing countries.

One child in 20 in sub-Saharan Africa has been orphaned by the disease. It is the principal cause of premature death among men and women aged 15-59, according to UN data.

The first two days of the conference will be dedicated to a technical review of progress made against the disease since the adoption of an action plan during a special session of the UN General Assembly in 2001.

On Friday, heads of state and of government and ministers are scheduled to meet in a bid to rededicate their countries' political involvement in the fight against the disease.

On the eve of the conference, Tuesday, UNAIDS, the UN organization that coordinates the HIV fight, will release a report on the world status of AIDS, which will serve as the basis for work at the conference.

According to the United Nations, the report will welcome real progress that certain countries have made thanks to effective prevention policies and will deplore the pandemic's continued spread in other countries.

The report also is expected to sound the alarm on a worrying phenomenon: an increasing spread of the disease among women, which began five years ago, largely in Africa.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan will also release a report on progress made by members states since 2001, recalling that halting the pandemic by 2015 is one of the Millennium Development Goals pledged by world leaders in 2000.

Member states will hear recommendations on ways to bolster methods of prevention, treatment and social assistance to the ill, with the goal of coming as near as possible to universal access to treatments by 2010.

For the first time, the General Assembly will be addressed by a person infected with HIV.

Prior to the conference, the United Nations Children's Fund and other groups dedicated to assisting children made an urgent appeal Friday for distribution of enough medicines and treatment to help the millions of children infected with HIV.

Related Links

World must do more to provide drugs for children with AIDS
United Nations (AFP) May 26, 2006
Leading child advocacy groups made an urgent appeal here Friday for world action to provide drugs and treatment to the millions of overlooked children afflicted with the HIV virus that causes AIDS.

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