|The Business Response to HIV/AIDS: Innovation and Partnership (UNAIDS, 1997, 60 p.)|
President of the Republic of South Africa and Honorary President of the Global Business Council on HIV/AIDS
EDINBURGH, 23 OCTOBER 1997
One of the gravest illnesses affecting many of our young ones is HIV/AIDS. The AIDS crisis is worsening at an alarming rate. All too often, babies who have been infected or who live in infected families are abandoned and rejected. Many lose their parents at an early age, AIDS turns them into orphans.
Although HIV/AIDS has been with us through the eighties and nineties, a cure continues to elude us; and efforts to find a vaccine have not borne significant results. We have made progress in understanding the epidemic, but we are still unable to contain its spread.
Many people live with HIV and AIDS, and many are at risk of becoming infected. Yet the reality is that the rights which should protect them from the vulnerabilities which AIDS sufferers endure are not adequately respected. We need to confront that reality, and speak out against it.
It is for this reason that I have agreed to be the Honorary President of the Global Business Council on HIV/AIDS, launched in Edinburgh on 23 October 1997.
This Council will act, above all, as a catalyst for the broader response to HIV/AIDS world-wide, particularly through the encouragement of public/private sector partnerships in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The example set by the creation of the Global Business Council is already motivating greater participation of the private sector in the response to HIV/AIDS throughout the world including Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas through catalysing public/private sector partnerships in these regions.
The challenge of AIDS can be overcome if we work together as a global community. All sectors and all spheres of society have to be involved as equal partners. We have to develop programmes and share information and research that will halt the spread of this disease and help to develop support networks for those who are infected.
Together we have the obligation to put sunshine into the hearts of our little ones. They are our precious possessions who deserve what happiness life can offer.
Now is the time to work together to combat AIDS. Let us join hands in a caring partnership for health and prosperity as we enter the new millennium.
President of the Republic of South Africa