1 December 2003

New HIV/AIDS Radio Spots for Ethiopia Released to Mark World AIDS Day 2003

VIENNA, 1 December (United Nations Information Service) -- The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) today released new radio spots in Amharic (the main language of Ethiopia) that provide information on the dangerous combination of drugs and HIV/AIDS and dispel common myths about how HIV is spread. According to UNAIDS, Ethiopia has the 16th-highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the world, with nearly three million people currently infected and an estimated 5,000 infected weekly.

The population of Ethiopia is over 66.5 million, with another four million Amharic speakers in neighbouring Eritrea. UNODC hopes the new spots will have a broad reach and a marked impact, given the size of the potential audience and the extent of the HIV/AIDS problem in those countries and in the region.

"We need to speak up, and by doing so, to tear down the walls of silence, stigma, and discrimination. In the world of AIDS, silence is death", said Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director, UNODC, in his message for World AIDS Day. "Denial and ignorance will not reverse this epidemic."

UNODC has already produced radio spots and fact sheets in Swahili, French and English on the relationship between drug use and HIV/AIDS transmission as components of UNODC's "Let's talk about drugs" campaign for Africa. That campaign was launched in June to encourage authority figures to talk to young people about drug use. One of the fact sheets addresses the general issue of drug use and HIV/AIDS, and the other deals with specific myths and misinformation common in Africa. The radio spots released today take the campaign one step further by targeting a specific country.

The radio spots are available at no cost and for unrestricted use by broadcasters. The spots can be downloaded in MP3 format from the Internet at www.unodc.org. CD-ROM versions can also be ordered by emailing radiospots@unodc.org or by writing to:


Advocacy Section
Vienna International Centre
Wagramer Strasse 5
A-1400 Vienna, Austria
Fax: (43-1) 26060-5931

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