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How Asia Tackles HIV/AIDS Will Affect Future

How Asia-Pacific Tackles HIV/AIDS Will Affect Region’s Future – Annan

How governments of Asia and the Pacific address the multi-faceted challenge of HIV/AIDS will affect the very future of the region, United Nations Secretary-General told a ministerial meeting today in Bangkok.

“We know that AIDS is far more than a health crisis. It is a threat to social and economic development as a whole,” Mr. Annan said in opening remarks to the second Asia-Pacific Ministerial Meeting on HIV/AIDS.

“The response to this complex challenge must engage every part of society – Government, business, civil society and people living with HIV/AIDS,” he added.

Noting that in recent decades, more people in Asia and the Pacific have escaped from poverty than in any other part of the world, the Secretary-General stressed that such gains must not be reversed by HIV/AIDS.

“More than eight million people in your region are now living with HIV/AIDS, and the number is rising fast,” he said, warning that left unchecked, the disease would not only devastate millions of lives, it also impose huge burdens on the region’s health systems and soak up badly needed resources for social and economic development.

“So the fight against HIV/AIDS requires constant vigilance and renewal. We know, from experience elsewhere, that the spread can be turned back when – but only when – there is a coordinated response, from all sectors of society and every branch of Government. It requires leadership at every level,” he said.

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