3 June 2005

HIV/AIDS Epidemic ‘Great Challenge of Our Age and Our Generation’, Says Secretary-General at UN Press Briefing

NEW YORK, 2 June (UN Headquarters) -- Following are UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s remarks at a press briefing for the General Assembly High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS, in New York, 2 June:

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I am pleased to be here with Peter Piot, Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, and Richard Feachem, his counterpart at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

As I told the plenary at this morning’s General Assembly High-Level Meeting -- HIV/AIDS may be the great challenge of our age and our generation.

Only if we meet this challenge can we succeed in our efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals.

So far, even though we have managed to contain HIV/AIDS here and there, the overall epidemic continues to expand. The world is still doing only a fraction of what it needs to do.

We must do far more to prevent HIV infections.

We must do far more to combat the epidemic’s disproportionate impact on women and young people.

We must do far more to mitigate the impact on sub-Saharan Africa -- and to prevent new hot spots from emerging.

We must do far more to fight stigma and discrimination.

And we must do far more to step up the search for a vaccine.

Those are daunting challenges. But the consequences of failure are far more daunting.

That is why we are fortunate indeed to have as leaders in our response Dr. Peter Piot and Dr. Richard Feachem. I am pleased to give them the floor now.

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