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Cablegate: President Guebuza Highlights Hiv/Aids At

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DE RUEHTO #1198 2820723
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 090723Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY MAPUTO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8058
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP 0242

UNCLAS MAPUTO 001198

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AF/S FOR MSHIELDS; AF/PD
USAID FOR AA/AFR AND AFR/SA
MCC FOR SGAULL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KCOR PGOV PHUM MZ
SUBJECT: PRESIDENT GUEBUZA HIGHLIGHTS HIV/AIDS AT
NATIONAL YOUTH CONFERENCE


1. (U) During the recent opening session of a
National Youth Conference on HIV/AIDS, President
Armando Guebuza and Prime Minister Luisa Diogo
encouraged young Mozambicans to take the lead in
the country's fight against HIV/AIDS. The three-
day meeting was organized by the Ministry of
Youth and Sport, the National Youth Council, and
the National AIDS Council and included 500 youths
from around the country to discuss behavior and
attitude change. Guebuza noted the significant
effect the disease has had on the countryQs youth
and young adults, a subgroup that continues to
have the highest prevalence rates in the country.
He also acknowledged that government efforts to
combat the disease have not been sufficient to
make a difference.

2. (U) Guebuza continued to parallel the impact
of HIV/AIDS with his administration's top focus -
the overall fight against poverty. Unlike in
past speeches, however, Guebuza did not actively
encourage attendees to be tested for the disease
and made only a passing reference to the
prevailing atmosphere of stigma and
discrimination against those infected with
HIV/AIDS. Diogo's message focused primarily on
behavior change. She argued that youth can no
longer stand by idly and wait for others to solve
their problems and stressed that young
Mozambicans must find the will to change their
own behavior and actively encourage change among
their partners and peers.

3. (U) COMMENT: The fact that senior level GRM
officials again mentioned HIV/AIDS in well-
publicized speeches is a positive demonstration
of the GRMQs commitment to combat this epidemic.
However, the speeches represented the first high-
level statement by the GRM on HIV/AIDS in the
past three months. First Lady Maria da Luz
Guebuza Q who had declared HIV/AIDS awareness to
be a cornerstone of her office Q was also
conspicuously absent from the proceedings. While
the GRM remains very cooperative on the
programmatic level, we will continue to encourage
more visible leadership from MozambiqueQs senior
political leaders, which will be crucial in
reversing the still-rising incidence rate of
HIV/AIDS among MozambiqueQs adult population.
END COMMENT

CHAPMAN

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