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UN envoy hails HIV/AIDS policy

Stephen Lewis, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa.
UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS - Stephen Lewis (UNAIDS)

The UN envoy on HIV/AIDS in Africa has praised the new Kenyan government's efforts to tackle the scourge.

Speaking after a recent trip to Kenya, Stephen Lewis said he had a greater degree of hope and optimism about the ability of President Mwai Kibaki's government to tackle the pandemic, given the "startlingly changed atmosphere" it had so far created.

"It is hard to describe the sense of change from the previous administration. Suffice to say, where HIV/AIDS is concerned, the change is night and day," Lewis said.

HIV/AIDS has been declared a national disaster in Kenya, where it kills an estimated 700 people daily. The country has about 200,000 people with AIDS, out of which only 7,000 have access to life saving anti-retroviral drugs.

Lewis said the positive impact of the government's attitude had also been felt in the new policy of providing free primary education. Previously, many children orphaned by AIDS were often forced to drop out of school due to lack of funding.

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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