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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
Ugandan President Calls on World Leaders to Step Up AIDS Fight

October 27, 2003
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 epidemic.

"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," said Museveni.

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.