President Says Gov't Committed to Continue Support to Anti-HIV/AIDS Campaign

ADDIS ABABA, Dec. 1 (ENA) President Negaso Gidada has expressed the Ethiopian Government's readiness to press ahead with its support to the national efforts geared to contain the spread of HIV/AIDS in the country.

In a statement he gave here yesterday in connection with the World AIDS Day being observed today, Dr. Negaso said the government is ready to work together with the public at large in the fight against the pandemic.

The President said the government of Ethiopia has been doing its level best to arrest the spread of the deadly disease.

He also stressed on the need to break the silence on HIV/AIDS to protect the public against the pandemic.

A five-year national programme has been formulated to tackle the socio-economic as well as the psychological problems generated by HIV/AIDS, Negaso said.

He said preparations are well under way to establish a governmental secretarial office and national secretarial office and national council charged with the task of coordinating the implementation of the programme.

Persons living with the virus should not be discriminated, Negaso said and lauded the efforts being deployed by "The Dawn of Hope, Ethiopia", a national anti-HIV/AIDS Association, to check the spread of the pestilence.

The President called on governmental and non-governmental organizations, religious institutions, the mass media as well as the public at large to join hands in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Currently, over 33 million people across he world have been infected with the virus that causes AIDS, he said, adding 22.5 million of the stated number of people live in sub-Saharan African countries.

There are about three million people living with HIV in Ethiopia, Negaso has said.

The year's World AIDS Day would be observed under the theme "Let Us Talk and Learn About HIV/AIDS with Children and the Youth Openly."