Agence France Presse (10.26.03) - Monday, October 27, 2003
At Sunday's opening of a major international HIV/AIDS
conference in Kampala, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni
called on world leaders to step up the fight against the
"Achieving a rolldown of the AIDS impact calls for strong
political leadership, as lack of this has continued to be an
impediment in the HIV/AIDS fight in many countries, especially
in Africa," Museveni told the more than 800 delegates gathered
at the opening session of a five-day conference of People
Living With HIV/AIDS.
Community activists and NGO workers from around the world are
attending the conference, which seeks to improve access to
antiretroviral drugs. "We are breaking the silence about
HIV/AIDS and confronting the stigma and discrimination
continuing to affect those infected," said Rubaramira Ruranga,
the conference's organizing committee chair.
While calling on governments to give the "AIDS epidemic the
due political commitment it deserves," Museveni reminded the
audience about the importance of preventing new infections.
"People are talking much about ARVs and they forget about
prevention. In order for our societies to survive, we must
stop new infections and also care for those already infected,"
Museveni appealed to African nations to invest in research,
rather than leaving it to the outside world, and improve their
information flow on HIV/AIDS. Uganda is regarded as an African
success story as the number of HIV-positive people among its
21 million inhabitants has been falling, in part due its ABC
strategy - abstinence from premarital sex, being faithful to a
partner, and use of condoms.