Political leadership required to tackle AIDS epidemic

On 30 November, development minister Bert Koenders opened the 11th National AIDS Conference in Amsterdam. This year’s conference focused on the political leadership required to tackle the AIDS epidemic.

A recent United Nations report showed that the growth of the epidemic is flattening out, but not in all countries. '33 million people infected with HIV is still an inconceivable number, and 6,800 new infections every day is unacceptable. We can see how AIDS in southern Africa has dislocated whole societies. In Swaziland en Botswana, it has even wiped out a whole generation,’ said the minister.

In the next few years, Koenders will do his utmost to support the fight against HIV/AIDS, focusing specifically on vulnerable groups such as women, children, homosexuals, and drug users. The Netherlands is one of the biggest donors in the area of HIV/AIDS. ‘We will maintain our role as a leader in the international fight against AIDS,’ said Koenders. At the same time, he called on the major industrial countries to live up to their financial and other promises.