UNAIDS CHIEF URGES UGANDAN PRESIDENT TO CHAMPION FIGHT AGAINST HIV/AIDS

The Executive Director of the United Nations AIDS agency, UNAIDS, Michel Sidibe, has called on Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to become a champion in the fight against HIV/AIDS worldwide, saying the world needs to eliminate HIV/AIDS and suppress the virus.

Dr. Sidibe, who is also a UN under-secretary-general, met President Yoweri Museveni in Addis Ababa, where they attended the African Union (AU) summit earlier this week, the office of the president said in a statement here Thursday.

President Museveni and Dr. Sidibe discussed a wide range of issues on HIV/AIDS, focusing on the possible ways of eliminating HIV/AIDS and how to suppress the virus, the statement said.

We want you, Mr. President, to speak about the fight against HIV/AIDS. We want you to become a champion in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the world, Dr. Sidibe told the President.

He added that HIV/AIDS can be controlled and that soon, mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS would be eliminated. He said the biggest problem of HIV/AIDS infection was now among adolescent youth aged between 15 and 19.

Young girls are infected after sleeping with men aged between 25-40. They do not know they are infected and they also infect young boys of their age. There is need for health education among the people particularly on HIV/AIDS, he said.

President Museveni re-affirmed Uganda's commitment to end the AIDS epidemic and said he would support all efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

In the late 1990's, Uganda was internationally recognized as a success story in Africa, having reduced high HIV infection rates and extended access to life-saving treatment for people living with HIV.

In 2012-2013, Uganda made breakthrough progress by scaling-up its national, evidence-based response to HIV. In 2012 alone, 193,000 people living with HIV were newly enrolled in the national treatment programme.

Uganda's Ministry of Health is also expanding its HIV prevention strategy to reduce the number of new HIV infections in Uganda and the country is uniquely positioned to re-assert its role and reputation as a success story of the AIDS response in Africa.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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