UPU issues new stamps to mark 30 years of AIDS epidemic

New York, US (PANA) - The UN Universal Postal Union (UPU) Tuesday said about 20 postal services around the world are issuing stamps and other products as part of a UN initiative to highlight 30 years of battle against the AIDS epidemic.

About 60 million people have been infected with HIV and nearly 30 million people have died of AIDS-related causes.

"Nearly three million individual stamps will circulate within and across borders in countries as diverse as Belarus, Fiji, Iraq, Malawi and Uruguay,'' according to a news release issued by the UPU at the UN headquarters in New York.

The UN Postal Administration also stated that it was issuing three stamps that would be sold at its offices in New York, Geneva and Vienna.

"Stamps – these formidable mini works of art – are noble ambassadors that leave important messages in the hands of all who receive mail,” UPU Director-General, Edouard Dayan said.

Dayan noted that, "the Universal Postal Union is proud that so many posts have responded to our call to raise awareness of critical issues like HIV.

"Once again, this initiative goes to show the incredible outreach value of postal services worldwide,” he stated.

The UN said the initiative was part of the global HIV campaign launched in 2009 by the UPU, the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and UNI Global, which represents 900 trade unions worldwide.

It also said: ``Many stamps are being issued this month to coincide with the three-day high-level meeting on AIDS, which begins at UN headquarters in New York on Wednesday and provides an opportunity to review progress and chart the future course of the global AIDS response''.

UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe, said: ``This is an excellent and important initiative to get people around the world talking about AIDS''.

``One of the greatest barriers in the AIDS response is the stigma and discrimination surrounding the disease. By initiating dialogue around HIV, these little stamps will play a big role in helping to break down some of those barriers,'' SIdibe said.

This week’s landmark UN General Assembly meeting on AIDS will bring together some 30 heads of State and government, along with senior officials, representatives of international organizations, civil society and people living with HIV.

UN member states are expected to adopt a new declaration that will reaffirm current commitments and commit to actions which will shape the future of the AIDS response 30 years into the epidemic and 10 years since the Assembly’s Special Session on HIV/AIDS in 2001.
-0- PANA AA/BOS/VAO 7June2011

07 juin 2011 15:02:48

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