European Commission Pledges To Increase Support for HIV/AIDS Efforts in Southern Africa
The European Commission plans to increase support for efforts to prevent HIV transmission in southern Africa, Alessandro Mariani, the European Union's ambassador to Malawi and chair of the E.C.'s regional HIV/AIDS group, said Thursday, AFP/Google.com reports. Mariani spoke at the conclusion of a two-day meeting in Malawi's capital city, Lilongwe. Ten southern African countries from the E.C.'s HIV/AIDS group -- Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe -- participated in the meeting.
In order to reduce southern Africa's "unacceptably high" HIV prevalence, stakeholders "have to do more on prevention, and we have to do it better and faster," Mariani said. According to AFP/Google.com, the E.C.'s initiative will emphasize preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission and also focus on preventing transmission among the broader public. Mariani added, "Prevention, prevention and prevention will be our main objective. We want a new generation which is HIV-free." Mariani did not indicate the amount of funding the E.C. plans to contribute to the cause, but he said the commission plans to build on "significant European resources dedicated to the fight against HIV and AIDS in the region."
According to AFP/Google.com, southern Africa has one of the largest HIV burdens in the world, with the region accounting for 35% of new HIV cases and 38% of AIDS-related deaths in 2007. During that year, about 1.5 million new HIV cases occurred in the region, AFP/Google.com reports (AFP/Google.com, 3/12).