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CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: HIV/AIDS documentation centre inaugurated in Bangui

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the joint UN programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) have inaugurated an HIV/AIDS documentation, information, education and communication centre in the Central African Republic (CAR) capital, Bangui.

The main objective of the project, which is scheduled for an initial three-year period from September 2002 to August 2004, is "to reduce the number of HIV-positive people in CAR", Enoch Senzongo, director of the centre, told PlusNews.

UNFPA and UNAIDS contributed US $245,000 and US $64,000 respectively to support the initiative.

Senzongo added that the centre would work in partnership with national and international NGOs, and youth and women's associations which deal with HIV/AIDS. The centre has a library of documents provided by UNFPA, UNAIDS, the UN Development Programme, and the CAR ministry of health.

"Our library will have books not only about HIV/AIDS but also about tuberculosis and other infectious diseases," Senzongo said.

Furthermore, the centre will conduct anti-AIDS campaigns and organise seminars about HIV/AIDS both in towns and in rural areas. "The main vocation of the centre is to reach out to the population and provide education so that the people of CAR may adopt a more responsible behaviour," Senzongo said.

According to a UNAIDS report produced in June 2002, 12 percent of CAR citizens are HIV-positive, making the country the most affected nation in central Africa and the 10th most affected in the world.

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