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Last Updated: Monday, 18 July, 2005, 20:36 GMT 21:36 UK
'Aids risk' for UN peacekeepers
By Susannah Price
BBC News, United Nations

South African peacekeeper  in Bujumbura, Burundi
The United Nations Aids agency has warned that UN peacekeepers still do not have the knowledge and means to protect themselves from HIV/Aids.

Leaders from numerous countries have now acknowledged HIV/Aids is a serious problem in their armed services, according to a new UN report.

More than 100 countries contribute personnel to UN peacekeeping missions.

UNAids chief Peter Piot said there had been some progress over the past five years, but more needed to be done.

He said peacekeeping operations now had Aids advisers, trainers and counsellors, while troops were given awareness training.

He added that a small but growing number of military and political leaders also understood the need to address Aids among their armed forces, and called for voluntary testing to be expanded.

Tests

The UN Security Council emphasised in a resolution five years ago the need for strong action to curb the spread of HIV/Aids among peacekeepers.

A new UN report says uniformed service personnel are considered one of the high-risk groups for contracting HIV/ Aids and this could jeopardise the world's ability to generate future UN peacekeeping missions.

The head of UN peacekeeping, Jean-Marie Guehnno, said they had reduced the risk of peacekeepers contracting or transmitting the virus while on mission.

He called for wide voluntary testing, but also for countries to ensure that treatment was available for those found to be positive.




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