13 July 2004
am glad to meet with you at this critical juncture in the fight against AIDS
in the Asia-Pacific region.
know that many of you are showing impressive leadership in that fight.
That is the kind of commitment that is needed from all the leaders of
know that AIDS is far more than a health crisis.
It is a threat to social and economic development as a whole.
Key ministries of your governments -- ministries of finance, education
and development, as well as health -- must be actively involved in
implementing your national AIDS programmes, and in bringing financial and
human resources to the effort.
the same token, the response to this complex challenge must engage every part
of society -- government, business, civil society, and people living with
let us be clear: how you address
this challenge will impact the very future of the region.
recent decades, more people have escaped from poverty in
gains have impressed the whole world. You
must cherish, and carefully nurture them.
Above all, you must not let them be reversed by HIV/AIDS.
than 8 million people in your region are now living with HIV/AIDS, and the
number is rising fast. Some areas
have been battling the epidemic for well over a decade.
But it has now reached almost every corner of the region.
unchecked, AIDS will not only devastate millions of lives; it will also impose
huge burdens on the region’s health systems, and soak up resources that are
badly needed for social and economic development.
the fight against HIV/AIDS requires constant vigilance and renewal.
We know, from experience elsewhere, that the spread can be turned back
when –- but only when –- there is a coordinated response, from all sectors
of society and every branch of government. It
requires leadership at every level.
representatives of your region’s governments, all of you can help make that
happen. It is a vital
responsibility, which requires all your energy and imagination.
It requires finding ways to reach out to all groups, and devising approaches for prevention and treatment that are suited to their needs -- whether young people, sex workers, injecting drug users, or men who have sex with men.
it means stamping out stigma and discrimination in communities and in the
workplace -- ugly phenomena that create fear and exclusion, and undermine both
prevention and treatment efforts.
you will be discussing essential components in the fight against HIV/AIDS --
political commitment, community involvement, policy and resources.
They are the four corners of the foundation for a successful and
look forward to hearing about the outcome of your discussion, and thank every
one of you for your commitment."