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NZ to push for real solutions at UN AIDS meeting

30 May 2006

NZ to push for real solutions at UN AIDS meeting

New Zealand will advocate for an open and honest approach in the global community's fight against HIV/AIDS at a special session of the United Nations General Assembly, Health Minister Pete Hodgson said today.

The Minister is leading New Zealand's delegation to the Special Session, which gets underway in New York tomorrow. The meeting follows the first Special Session in 2001 and comes as the world marks the 25th anniversary of the first AIDS diagnosis.

"The HIV/AIDS epidemic is a full scale global health crisis with profound social and economic consequences," Pete Hodgson said. "But more importantly it is an epidemic leading to countless tragedies for families and communities around the world.

"The Special Session is an opportunity for all countries to reflect on our contribution to the fight against HIV/AIDS. We need to confront the evidence that the spread of the disease is quickening and we need to be willing to examine the effectiveness of our efforts to date.

"Importantly, all countries need to be willing to make honest assessments of the policies they are supporting to combat the epidemic. We need to support realistic policies that will achieve real results – especially in the area of prevention.

"New Zealand will also be working to highlight the issues faced by the Pacific. HIV/AIDS is a rapidly growing threat to our region and it needs to be on the radar of the international community."

New Zealand's delegation will also include Dr Gill Greer of the Family Planning Association and Rachael Le Mesurier of the New Zealand AIDS Foundation.

ENDS

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