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Marking Day of Families, UN Urges HIV Efforts

Marking International Day of Families, UN Urges Efforts to Combat HIV/AIDS

New York, May 16 2005 5:00PM

The international community must recognize that strong families are one of the first lines of defence against the HIV pandemic and are vital in coping with the infection, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a message to mark the International Day of Families.

“Clearly, we must do all we can to help the family remain resilient, as it is often the only safety net, playing a critical role in determining how well individuals and communities cope with AIDS and its consequences,” he said on the occasion of the Day, commemorated on 15 May.

He recalled that in 2001, the General Assembly called on governments to develop and strengthen strategies, policies and programmes that recognize the family’s role in HIV/AIDS prevention, as well as the care and support of those who become infected.
“That means finding ways to keep parents alive. It means addressing gender disparities and the vulnerabilities of young girls in particular,” Mr. Annan said.
“It means integrating family-focused programmes with broader community-based interventions aimed at reducing vulnerability to HIV/AIDS, improving prevention and care, and alleviating the epidemic's devastating social and economic impact. And it means stamping out the stigma that may prevent disclosure of HIV status even within a family,” he added.
The UN has been marking the International Day of Families since 1994, when the General Assembly mandated the observance raise awareness of related issues.

ENDS

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