UNAIDS Chief Peter Piot to Visit ADB to Strengthen Cooperation

News Release | 16 February 2005

MANILA, PHILIPPINES (16 February 2005) - Dr Peter Piot, Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), will visit ADB on Monday to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to boost the AIDS response in Asia and the Pacific.

As part of the MOU, UNAIDS and the ADB will work together to engage political leaders and various sectors in the fight against AIDS, strengthen national capacity to scale up the AIDS response, and generate additional funds for the AIDS response in the region.

AIDS continues to spread in Asia and the Pacific with more than 1.2 million people newly infected last year alone, bringing the total number of people living with HIV in the region to 8.2 million. The region has the second largest number of people living with HIV after sub-Saharan Africa with more than 25 million.

According to a joint UNAIDS/ADB report published last year, an additional 10 million people from Asia and the Pacific could be infected with HIV by the end of the decade if urgent action is not taken to scale up HIV prevention and care programs. This would cost the region $17.5 billion annually, and millions would be thrown into poverty. Currently, prevention and care services in the region only cover 20% of needs.

After signing the MOU, Dr. Piot will give a presentation to ADB personnel, to which media will be invited. There will be also a statement from Lennart Hjelmaker, HIV/AIDS Ambassador, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sweden.

Sweden is due to sign an agreement on Wednesday 23 February with ADB to establish a $14 million AIDS trust fund to help fight the disease in the region.

For more information about UNAIDS, visit www.unaids.org.