Note to Correspondents

Note No. 257
21 November 2003



HIV/AIDS is a global emergency: ten people are infected every minute of every day, 95 per cent of them in developing countries. AIDS is the number one killer of people in Africa and the number four killer of people worldwide. The epidemic is spreading at an alarming rate among women, who now account for half of those infected across the globe. On World AIDS Day, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan will urge the international community to meet its obligations as envisioned in the Declaration of Commitment for fighting HIV/AIDS.

The United Nations and its specialised agencies are at the frontlines of global efforts to combat HIV/AIDS. This year, World AIDS Day will focus on the stigma and discrimination encountered by HIV-positive people as well as the problems associated with AIDS funding and access to HIV treatment. Numerous events and activities are planned for the two weeks leading up to the Day (1 December 2003). The annual AIDS Epidemic Update will be released by UNAIDS in London on 25 November with the latest facts and figures available on the global situation.


25 NovemberInternational Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The issue of violence against women has relevance to the rampant increase in HIV-positive rates among women. For additional information, please contact: Leigh Pasqual, tel: 1 (212) 906-5463.

25 November – Release of UNAIDS Epidemic Update report in London and other world capitals. Contact: Anne Winter (Geneva), tel: +41 (22) 791-4577, Dominique De Santis, tel: +41 (22) 791-4509. Dr. Piot, the Executive Head of UNAIDS, will conduct a teleconference with US and international news media at 11:00 AM EDT. To pre-register for the teleconference, contact Gavin Hart, tel: 1 (212) 584-5024.

26 November – Launch of UNICEF orphans report in Johannesburg (with UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy and Graca Machel), Geneva and Berlin (with Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa Stephen Lewis). Contact: Marixie Mercado, tel: 1 (212) 326-7133.

1 DecemberWorld AIDS Day - WHO announcement relating to the “3 by 5” initiative (giving 3 million more people access to treatment by 2005) in Nairobi. Contact: Ian Simpson (Geneva),  tel: +41 (22) 791-3215.

At the United Nations (Vienna): Information stands will be located in the Rotunda with information material available from the VIC Medical Service, UNAIDS, AIDS Hilfe Wien, Buddy Verein; Showing of relevant videos on monitors (11:30 – 14:00 hours); Red ribbons will be made available through the IAEA, UNOV, UNIDO and CTBTO Staff Councils. Donations from staff members will be given to local charities. There will be display of relevant literature in the IAEA library.

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Please visit the UNAIDS website,, on 25 November to access the press kit for
World AIDS Day, especially the AIDS Epidemic Update which features the latest global, regional
and country data. Copies of the report will also be made available at UN headquarters.

For further information, please contact Jaya Mohan at UNIS Vienna.  Phone: 260604448