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AIDS disaster looming - UN

Ethiopia risks an HIV/AIDS disaster if the pandemic is not treated as an emergency, warned Stephen Lewis, the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Addressing a recent news conference in the capital, Addis Ababa, Lewis said: "Ethiopia is at a crossroads If the government viewed HIV/AIDS as an emergency, it would be defeated. But if it is not treated as an emergency, the pandemic could wreck havoc in the country."

Anti-AIDS drugs are currently only available only to those who can afford them and critics say the government has moved too slowly in addressing the crisis.

Lewis called for swifter action to make antiretrovirals more widely available, and said the government should also set up a national policy to deal with the welfare of more than one million children orphaned by the disease.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information:

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