Thursday, June 24, 1999 Published at 17:53 GMT 18:53 UK
Annan warns of Aids disaster
Millions of children in Africa are orphaned by Aids
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan is to use the first Diana, Princess of Wales memorial lecture to remind the West that while Aids may be coming under control there, the developing world faces unimaginable suffering from the disease.
In Africa, he said, 5,500 people are dying from the disease every day. In some societies life expectancy has been slashed from 70 years to not much more than 40.
That was perhaps, he said, because she was a rather vulnerable person herself.
"She could empathise with those who had the disease and bring attention to their plight. And this raised public awareness to levels one could not have imagined."
The two worlds of Aids
He hopes to encourage international businesses to contribute money to the fight against Aids.
The developed countries have seen advances in drug treatments and in life expectancy from Aids sufferers, while the developing world has yet to benefit from these expensive therapies.
Mr Annan said that in some African countries, where Aids is the biggest killer, the disease takes up half of their small health budgets.
He said he was also concerned that because of the stigma attached to Aids, governments were reluctant to face up to the problem. For some people in Africa the name for Aids was "shame has fallen from heaven".