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U.S. Department of State

Great Seal Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Statement on World AIDS Day 1997
Washington, DC, December 1, 1997, 1997
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State

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On this day each year, we join together to recognize those who are fighting against HIV and AIDS, to commemorate those who have lost their own personal battle with the disease, and to pledge our support and encouragement to the millions of men, women and children around the world who are infected and affected by this devastating disease.

The face of HIV/AIDS is one of all genders, all colors, and all ages, but increasingly HIV/AIDS is a problem affecting children, both at home and abroad. It is for this reason that the international theme for World AIDS Day 1997 is "Children Living in a World with AIDS."

According to The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), 1,200 children around the world die of AIDS every day and 1,600 more become infected with HIV. According to the U.S. Census Bureau projections, 34.7 million children will lose a parent to AIDS by the year 2000 in 23 countries hard-hit by HIV and AIDS. By the year 2010, that number will jump to 42.6 million. Nineteen of these hard-hit countries are in Africa, where orphans may comprise 25% of the population.

As a result of such devastation, children increasingly assume adult roles in the home and in the work place. A child alone is much more likely to be homeless, abused, malnourished, uneducated, and unhealthy.

Reducing the threat of infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS, is a major goal of U.S. foreign policy. Through the U.S. Agency for International Development, we have committed more than $800 million to fight HIV/AIDS around the world. Over the last 10 years, we have established HIV/AIDS projects in 42 countries. We have helped more than 600 private voluntary organizations implement HIV prevention programs that have reached more than 15 million people. We have trained more than 150,000 educators, counselors, and clinicians.

Our support for international organizations such as the World Health Organization, the World Bank and UNAIDS is also critical in the global battle against this disease. We are determined to work with the Congress to sustain it.

So on this day - and every day - I call on all nations, private institutions, local and international businesses, communities both large and small, and families to give children hope in a world with AIDS by joining in an effort to understand the scope and diversity of the impact of HIV and AIDS, to make a stronger commitment to prevent HIV infection, to increase research and to improve treatment for those affected by this pandemic.

[End of Document]

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