African AIDS Summit: Bill Gates supports UN efforts

Abuja- Nigeria (PANA) -- UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's call for world-wide response to the HIV/AIDS crisis, at the ongoing Africa AIDS Summit in Abuja Thursday, has received instant support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
"Through our charitable foundation, Melinda and I will support the Secretary-General's call to action," Gates, billionaire computer tycoon, said in a statement released in Abuja Thursday.
In his speech, Annan called for the establishment of a global trust fund to help raise between seven and 10 billion dollars needed yearly over an extended period of time to combat the disease.
He listed the UN's priorities as embracing a balanced, multi-faceted approach that deals with treatment, prevention, mother-to-child transmission, tuberculosis, opportunistic infections and AIDS orphans.
Agreeing with the Secretary-General, Gates said the world could end AIDS "but only if wealthy countries increase their spending on AIDS in a dramatic way.
" "Countries including the US, the UK, Canada, France, Italy, Japan and Germany, all should come together to support the Secretary-General's call to action.
"If they do not, the 36 million people infected with AIDS could soon become 136 million," he warned.
The Foundation recently donated 100 million dollars to the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), a global organisation working to speed the development and distribution of preventive AIDS vaccines.

26 april 2001 19:08:00




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