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Annan lauds businesses for joining global fight against HIV/AIDS

Annan lauds businesses for joining global fight against HIV/AIDS

The United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, has lauded the increased involvement of corporations in the global fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

"Increasingly, companies recognize that fighting AIDS is in their interest - that doing so combines good business with doing good," he said in an address to an awards ceremony Wednesday evening at the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS in New York.

Presenting the Coalition's 2002 Award for Business Excellence to DaimlerChrysler in South Africa, Mr. Annan lauded the company's programme for prevention, care and treatment, saying it had demonstrated "what can be achieved by facing this insidious enemy head-on and working together to defeat it."

Companies have a unique ability to prevent the spread of HIV and help treat those who have the disease, he said. "The starting point for the business fight against AIDS is in the workplace, where companies can arm their employees with information that will protect them, and provide care and support to those infected."

While highlighting the scope of the AIDS tragedy, Mr. Annan voiced hope about signs of a growing momentum to combat it. "There is also another, unfolding story - a story of a world that is learning gradually not to turn its back on AIDS, but to face it squarely; to bring into the open the patterns of human behaviour that keep transmission going; to re-learn the lessons of global solidarity," he said.