Wednesday, August 14, 2002

UNESCO seeks to eliminate ‘shame’ of HIV

Daily Star - Lebanon

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has called for “eliminating the shame” associated with HIV/AIDS.

In a UN statement issued Monday announcing the start of the World AIDS Campaign 2002-03, to be held under the theme Live and Let Live, Victor Billeh, director of UNESCO in Beirut, said UN figures listed 11.8 million young people, including 160,000 in the Arab region, as living with AIDS.

According to the statement, although HIV is relatively rare in the region, “more investment in prevention and care is required now to maintain the low prevalence.”

“We need to mobilize all levels of society ­ from the political to the religious leader, including nongovernmental organizations, parents and members of the community ­ because they are key elements in the success of any prevention strategy,” Billeh said, adding that it was also “critical to involve young people in the design and implementation of such strategies.”

The international campaign is intended to fight the stigma of the disease and all forms of discrimination associated with it.