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UN envoy for AIDS in Africa holds talks with Botswana's President

UN envoy for AIDS in Africa holds talks with Botswana's President

Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa today held talks with top leaders in Botswana, one of the continent's worst-hit countries.

During their talks, Envoy Stephen Lewis and President Festus Mogae touched on national and African AIDS initiatives and the role of African leaders in combating HIV/AIDS in the region.

While in Botswana, Mr. Lewis also met with the head of the national AIDS coordinating committee, as well as the heads of UN agencies in the country. His schedule also includes meetings with representatives of civil society and visits to field projects dealing with HIV/AIDS.

In other news on AIDS, musician Salman Ahmad today launched a new push to fight HIV/AIDS in Pakistan as part of the global UN effort to battle the epidemic.

"In my capacity as an artist, I will look at all possible means to help raise awareness about AIDS," Mr. Ahmad told a press conference in Islamabad held in conjunction with the launch. Pledging to focus on helping the younger generation, Mr. Ahmad noted that "AIDS puts a greater challenge on each and every one of us to be more responsible for our personal and public behaviour."

Kristan Schoultz of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) stressed that while Pakistan is currently experiencing a low prevalence of the disease, the country's young people would definitely be at risk unless they received proper information about the epidemic. "If we work together, we can make a difference," she said. "Now is the time to address the issue."

Pakistan's campaign is part of a global effort by UNAIDS aimed at involving men, particularly young men, more fully in the fight against the epidemic.