Civil G8 2006

Civil G8 — is your opportunity
to discuss global problems!

2. HIV/AIDS: a threat to humanity. Measures to combat the pandemic

AIDS Kills Irrespective of Nationality


Throughout the world on December 1, people commemorate World AIDS Day. By remembering those who have died, caring for those living with this disease, taking preventive actions, donating funds and continuing scientific research, we celebrate the progress made in fighting this terrible epidemic and focus on resolving the remaining challenges. On World AIDS Day, all of us - individuals, communities and governments - join in the pledge to "Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise".


HIV/AIDS poses one of the greatest threats the world has ever seen. UNAIDS, the joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, estimates that 40.3 million people are living with HIV today. In 2005, more than 3 million died of AIDS, including 500,000 children. The HIV/AIDS pandemic is a global scourge and every nation must recognize the problem - the United States and Russia, included.


In the United States, we learned that lesson the hard way. Twenty years ago, our response was slow and inadequate. Since then, however, we have learned, sometimes painfully, many important lessons. First, a delayed response is far less effective. Turning the tide against HIV/AIDS requires urgent, decisive action to educate, prevent and treat. Second, all elements of society must respond. That means not just health organizations, but also churches and educational institutions, the business sector and the government. Only by working together and applying all possible resources can society break the stigma attached to HIV/AIDS. Lastly, prevention must be the cornerstone. It is essential to recognize and attack the problem before it grows.


Our hope is that Russia can learn from the U.S. experience and avoid our mistakes. All of us, not just Russia and the United States, but every country in the world, have a stake in pooling our knowledge, our experiences and our resources. HIV/AIDS doesn't respect national boundaries or concepts of sovereignty. We are all vulnerable.


In Russia, HIV/AIDS is a growing concern. Some experts estimate that as many as 1 million Russians, over 1% of the adult population, are HIV positive. The majority of infections occur in the under-30 year old population, individuals in the prime of their lives. Today, these numbers are growing at a rapid rate. The good news is that with timely, effective action it will be possible to stop the spread of this disease. Russia, with its high literacy rate, well-educated population and formidable scientific establishment, is better situated than most countries to overcome this challenge. But time is short.


Russia is not alone in this struggle. Our two Presidents have made the fight against HIV/AIDS an important part of their dialog and a common priority. Our scientific collaboration, particularly in vaccine research, will benefit the global community. The G-8 Summit, which Russia is hosting in St. Petersburg in July 2006, offers another opportunity for joint action when leaders discuss infectious disease, one of the Summit's main themes.


Working together, we can make a difference. HIV/AIDS knows no boundaries; it discriminates against no ethnicity, no gender, no age, no race, no religion. It is a global problem that threatens us all. We cannot ignore it. Let us choose on this World AIDS Day to join the battle against HIV/AIDS in order to build a healthier future for all people.




Expert opinion

Halter Marek

02.12.06

Halter Marek
Le College de France
Olivier Giscard dEstaing

02.12.06

Olivier Giscard dEstaing
COPAM, France
Mika Ohbayashi

02.12.06

Mika Ohbayashi
Institute for Sustainable Energy Poliy
Bill Pace

02.12.06

Bill Pace
World Federalist Movement - Institute for Global Policy
Peter I. Hajnal

01.12.06

Peter I. Hajnal
Toronto University, G8 Research Group