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The BBC's Karen Allen
"It is being seen as a historic step"
 real 56k

The BBC's Greg Barrow
talks to two youth Aids workers about the plan
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Thursday, 28 June, 2001, 02:33 GMT 03:33 UK
UN declares war on Aids
Activists hold a multi-coloured, patchwork quilt honouring millions of lives lost
More than 20 million people have died of Aids
By Greg Barrow in New York

The General Assembly of the United Nations has adopted a landmark declaration of commitment to fight the global Aids epidemic.


Like Aids itself, these differences need to be confronted head-on, not swept under the carpet

Kofi Annan
UN member states made the move at the end of a three-day special session of the General Assembly - the first time this international body had met to discuss a health issue.

The declaration calls for global action to deal with a global crisis.

It also calls for leadership on the part of governments in countries most affected by HIV infection, and from those best positioned to fund prevention and treatment campaigns.

Click here for graph showing extent of the HIV/Aids epidemic

There has been vigorous debate about how the campaigns to prevent HIV infection should work alongside the provision of treatment for those already infected.

The declaration of commitment says that prevention comes first, as a primary goal should be to stop new infections.

The UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, described the document as a battle plan to fight Aids, a disease that has already claimed more than 20 million lives in the past two decades.

Row

For the past three days the floor of the Assembly has been ringing with appeals from developing nations, particularly those from Africa, for assistance in their fight to stop the catastrophic spread of HIV infection.

The rights of groups vulnerable to HIV infection were also discussed, with an argument over rights for homosexuals, prostitutes and drug addicts almost scuppering the international consensus.

In the interests of compromise, explicit mention of these rights was dropped from the declaration of commitment.




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See also:

27 Jun 01 | Americas
UN Aids row resolved
26 Jun 01 | Americas
Africa calls for help fighting Aids
25 Jun 01 | Africa
How to spend Aids fund
25 Jun 01 | Business
US drops Brazil Aids drugs case
19 Apr 01 | Africa
SA victory in Aids drugs case
07 Nov 00 | Americas
Latin America 'faces Aids epidemic'
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