Leaders urged to make more effort in fighting HIV/AIDS
Wednesday 7 January 2004


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ETHIOPIA: Leaders urged to make more effort in fighting HIV/AIDS

©  irin

Poster warning against HIV/AIDS

ADDIS ABABA, 21 July (PLUSNEWS) - Participants in an HIV/AIDS conference in Addis Ababa have called on the Ethiopian authorities to take a greater leadership role in the fight against the epidemic.

The call came on Sunday at the end of the symposium, organised by the pro-government media outlet Walta along with the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office (HAPCO), and the Centre for Disease

Dr Teklu Belay, from HAPCO, the government's anti-AIDS arm, acknowledged that successes in the fight against the virus had been "minimal".

The conference heard that the disease was killing around 600 people a day in Ethiopia and the death toll was rapidly increasing. Two thirds of deaths among people aged between 20 and 54 in the capital were AIDS-related.

President Girma Wolde Giorgis warned that the spread of HIV/AIDS would throw the country’s anti-poverty strategy off course if it remained unchecked.

"The virus is subverting our family lives, destroying family lives and people who need care are left without care," the president pointed out.

As yet, there are few laws within Ethiopia's constitution that are enforced to protect victims of stigmatisation – such as losing their jobs or homes because of the virus.

AIDS campaigners in the country said there were small glimmers of hope. They pointed to the small-scale distribution of antiretroviral drugs - expected to begin on Monday.

However, for many, the drugs – imported from India - are simply too expensive to afford, costing around US $40 per person per month.

The government says it does not have enough money to treat everyone and is limiting the distribution to people who can afford treatment.

Dr Tekeste Kebede from the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) warned the 350 delegates that the AIDS crisis would get worse before it improved.

He urged the government and campaigners to boost "primary prevention efforts" in tackling the virus, as well as expanding AIDS care and drug availability.



Recent ETHIOPIA Reports

New film depicts the suffering of women living with HIV,  6/Jan/04
Tackling HIV/AIDS through music,  9/Dec/03
Feature - Tackling HIV/AIDS,  1/Dec/03
Interview with UNAIDS head Bunmi Makinwa,  28/Nov/03
UN Day marked in Addis Ababa,  24/Oct/03


AIDS Law Unit
National AIDS Commission of Malawi
Catholic AIDS Action
Regional AIDS Initiaitive of Southern Africa (RAISA)
Positive Action Lesotho

PlusNews does not take responsibility for info in links supplied.


PlusNews is produced under the banner of RHAIN, the Southern African Regional HIV/AIDS Information Network. RHAIN's members currently include:


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  • Inter Press Service (IPS)



  • Health Systems Trust

  • Health & Development

  • GTZ/Afronets

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