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UN urges fewer words and more results on HIV/AIDS
Monday 5 September 2005
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AFRICA: UN urges fewer words and more results on HIV/AIDS

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

©  TAC

Greater results urged in fighting AIDS

NAIROBI, 28 April (PLUSNEWS) - UNAIDS has called for more action and less rhetoric from both government and civil society organisations if Africa is to succeed in its battle against the pandemic.

The agency's monitoring and evaluation advisor for Eastern and Southern Africa, Emmanuel Baingana Kasheeka, told delegates at an international HIV/AIDS convention underway in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, that the results of mitigating the disease fell far short of the resources being poured into existing intervention strategies.

"In the last 20 years we focused too much on planning, and very little on actions to transform the plans into tangible results matching the magnitude of the epidemic," said Kasheeka.

Although AIDS is by far the leading cause of death on the continent, which houses nearly 70 percent of the global population of HIV-positive adults, condom use among Africans is estimated at only 19 percent, while voluntary counselling and testing reaches just 10 percent.

"We have definitely been outflanked by this epidemic. It is way ahead of our responses ... we need to rapidly scale up actions to reduce HIV infection rates, increase access to treatment and care, and increase care and support for the affected, especially orphans," the UNAIDS advisor said.

Although the continent's children have been hardest hit by the disease - some 3.8 million have lost one or both parents to AIDS-related illnesses since 2000 - research shows that only three percent of orphaned and vulnerable children are receiving the necessary services.

Likewise, only three percent of HIV-positive people have access to antiretroviral treatment, while efforts to prevent the mother-to-child transmission of HIV reach a mere five percent of those requiring it.

UNAIDS challenged NGOs as well as civil society to start "making the money work".

Leonard Okello, the HIV/AIDS director of ActionAid, the international development agency under whose auspices the conference is being held, told PlusNews that his organisation hoped to create a global movement to encourage scaled-up action to alleviate the impact of the pandemic.

"The magnitude of this disease demands that it becomes political, and we want to create a critical mass of advocates to push governments ... to effectively fight it," Okello stressed. "There is a need for a better coordinated programme, based on agreed global HIV/AIDS response strategy."

Delegates at the five-day convention will collectively draft an international anti-AIDS strategy for ActionAid.


Recent AFRICA Reports
IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 249, 3 September 2005,  2/Sep/05
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IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 248, 26 August 2005,  26/Aug/05
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IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 247, 19 August 2005,  19/Aug/05
Le portail d'informations générales de la Côte d’Ivoire
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