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Call to wage war on HIV and AIDs

World Vision calls on CHOGM leaders to wage war on HIV and AIDs

In a letter to the Prime Minister this week, the humanitarian organisation World Vision called for the global leaders at the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kampala to pay special attention to HIV and AIDS and its impact on children.

The former Commissioner for Children, government/education liaison and spokesperson for World Vision New Zealand, Hon Roger McClay, says HIV and AIDS is one of the most serious and pressing issues facing the children of the world at this time.

Mr McClay told the Prime Minister recently that this generation of children faces many challenges, but no problem seems more serious than the huge blight of HIV and AIDS. He said the world has long recognised the burden of HIV and AIDS for children, yet still they lose their parents, teachers and nurses, and then must face the responsibility of caring for their family members at a very young age.

"HIV and AIDS is a real threat to children not only in Africa but also in the Pacific. Papua New Guinea is recognised to have an epidemic, with a reported 1.8 per cent of the population living with HIV and AIDS. Of these, 60 per cent are women, meaning that tens of thousands of children will be left to grow up all too quickly," says Mr McClay.

"World Vision calls on Helen Clark and her Commonwealth colleagues to be global leaders in this fight we must wage against HIV and AIDS. A message like this from the CHOGM would be heard by the world's most powerful people, including those who will gather at the G8 meeting in Japan next year," he says.

The 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting will be held in Kampala, Uganda, November 23-25.

ENDS

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