Brussels, 20 Sep 2004
The EU and its neighbours have pledged to take common action to counter the resurgent HIV/AIDS epidemic, including research into more effective prevention and new treatments for the disease.
The proportion of newly reported HIV cases has doubled in Western Europe since 1995. In some of the EU's new Member States, the rate of new infections is the highest in the world. The declaration was adopted in Vilnius, Lithuania, at a conference attended by health ministers, AIDS experts and representatives from industry and civil society.
'The message from this ministerial meeting is clear,' said EU Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner Pavel Telicka, who also attended the conference. 'The European continent has to wake up again to the renewed threat it faces. A number of governments are simply not doing enough and have to make this a key political priority.'
In addition to coordinated research, the declaration sees a pledge from national governments to: develop comprehensive and properly funded national strategies for HIV/AIDS prevention; to promote prevention measures; to ensure universal access to affordable treatment; to combat discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS; and to cooperate in identifying best practice and gathering data.