Annan Focuses on HIV/AIDS During Visit to Ukraine, Praises President’s Leadership
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan yesterday praised Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma for his "essential leadership" in fighting HIV/AIDS and called for further measures to battle new infections, which are rising at "alarming rates," according to Annan's spokesperson, the Associated Press reports. "Over the past two decades, AIDS has spread to every corner of the earth. The fight against the epidemic has become one of the greatest challenges of our times. It is one of the top priorities of the United Nations and of me personally," Annan said after a meeting with Kuchma, who declared HIV/AIDS a "national epidemic" in 2000 and designated 2002 as the "Year of the Fight Against AIDS." Annan praised Kuchma's efforts thus far but said more needs to be done to raise public awareness of the disease and to prevent further infections, especially mother-to-child HIV transmission, which he called the "cruelest form of all." Ukraine has more than 400,000 HIV/AIDS cases and one of the highest infection rates among the former Soviet republics (Vickery, Associated Press, 6/3).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.