UNFPA urges greater preventive effort in HIV/AIDS fight

Abuja- Nigeria (PANA) -- The Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), Thoraya Obaid, Friday advocated stronger preventive effort to stem the spread of HIV/AIDS, as a ground- breaking African Summit on the pandemic wound up in Nigeria's capital city of Abuja.
Obaid, one of several UN agency heads in town for the summit, told the African leaders that prevention must accompany treatment and support to the afflicted, majority of whom are in Africa.
"We already know enough to mount an effective prevention campaign," she said, listing potential preventive action as including the empowerment of women and girls against unsafe sex, changing men's attitude and behaviour towards women, and ensuring access to condoms.
She also mention the need to combat other sexually transmitted infections that aid the transmission of HIV.
Action too would need to be directed at countering the shame, stigma and Silence surrounding HIV/AIDS.
Obaid charged leaders to step up their action to curtail the spread of HIV/AIDS, said to infect about 24.
5 million people in Africa.
"African countries need the world's help and many additional resources to help fight HIV/AIDS, but success must come as a result of leadership and commitment within Africa itself," she said.
She said the provision of treatment, care and support for Africans now living with HIV/AIDS was a human rights imperative and a public health priority.
"Africa's leadership in fighting HIV/AIDS and preventing its spread would provide many lessons that can be used in other parts of the world, and immediately in Asia and Eastern Europe," the UNFPA boss reckoned.
Obaid, who is on her first official outing to Africa since assuming office in January, advocated a continental front against the disease.
UNFPA, the world's largest multilateral source of population assistance to developing countries, supports reproductive health programmes including family planning and HIV/AIDS prevention efforts around the world.

27 april 2001 13:11:00

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