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Arab religious leaders tackle AIDS head-on

At least 80 prominent religious leaders from Arab countries signed a declaration that will act as a foundation for tackling HIV/AIDS in Cairo on Monday.

"What we have achieved today is revolutionary. I am very happy and proud to be an Arab woman working in this region," the UN Development Programme's (UNDP) director of the HIV/AIDS regional programme in Arab states, Khadija Moalla, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

After years of resistance due to religious and social stigma associated with HIV and AIDS in the Arab world, the declaration is a cornerstone for action.

The pandemic is a sensitive issue in predominantly Arab countries, like Sudan, where most religious leaders opt only to urge for abstinence and faithfulness as a preventative measures.

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