Annan applauds Ukraines efforts to stop spread of HIVAIDS

The United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, today applauded Ukraine’s efforts to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS and pledged the UN’s full support in the country’s fight against the epidemic.“The fact that President [Leonid] Kuchma has declared 2002 the year of the fight against AIDS should send a powerful message – both inside your country, and in other countries of the region,” the Secretary-General said in an address to a partnership meeting of Ukraine’s Inter-Ministerial AIDS Commission in Kiev. Mr. Annan said the gathering was an example of the kind of wide-ranging response needed to succeed in combating the epidemic, which has reached “alarming” proportions in Ukraine. Every individual, especially every young person, must play his or her part in the struggle against AIDS, he stressed, adding that partnerships would be central to this effort, involving every part of Government as well as a broad range of civil society groups, including local organizations, church groups, and people living with HIV/AIDS themselves.”The United Nations family in the Ukraine is committed to helping you promote such a broad approach,” he said.With resources needed for this fight, the Secretary-General pointed out that the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria – which he championed over a year ago – had already granted Ukraine funds to fight the disease.”The more you show yourselves committed to an effective response, the better your chances of persuading outsiders that your efforts are worth supporting,” he said, noting that investing in young people was vital to this effort. In the country’s current environment of transition, he noted, “it is young people who are more likely to be infected, and to pass on the virus to others – whether through unsafe sex or through injecting drug use.”At the same time, he stressed that young people were also best placed to halt the spread of the epidemic, and to start reducing it. “That is why it is so important that your efforts to educate young people – in and out of school – should be developed further, across the whole country.” read more