28 October 2004
Use Your Power, Reach to Bring HIV/AIDS Out of Shadows, Secretary-General Urges in Message to Summit of Eurasia Media Leaders
NEW YORK, 27 October (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of Secretary-General Kofi Annans message to the Eurasia Media Leaders Summit on HIV/AIDS in Moscow, today, 27 October 2004:
HIV/AIDS is spreading at an alarming rate through Eastern Europe and Central Asia. In the past 10 years, the number of people infected has increased 800-fold. Most of them are young people, who often do not have even a basic understanding of the risks they are taking or how to protect themselves. There is no time to lose if we are to stop the epidemic in this part of the world from spinning out of control.
Fortunately, our age has given us powerful tools with which we can work to turn the tide of the epidemic. If there is one thing we have learnt in the two decades of this epidemic, it is that in a world with AIDS, silence is death. That is where all of you come in. As leaders of the media, you have the power and reach to disseminate the information people need to protect themselves from the virus -- especially young people. You can bring the disease out of the shadows and get people talking about it in an open, informed way. You can create an enabling environment where individuals are free to explore ways of keeping themselves safe and changing their behaviour, if necessary.
Many of you here are already making magnificent contributions to the fight against the epidemic. I am delighted that today you are joining the Global Media AIDS Initiative -- a partnership launched at the United Nations in January this year to bring together the worlds media in the fight against AIDS. Together, the United Nations family and the media can build an alliance with an ambitious agenda: to inform, to educate, to entertain people as a means to giving them the knowledge and incentive they need to protect themselves against HIV/AIDS.
You meet at a time when the epidemic is receiving renewed attention in the region. We must seize on this moment, and ensure its impact is felt where it is most needed, among young people. In that spirit, I welcome you as partners, and wish you a most successful meeting.
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