The UN General Assembly started a day-long ministerial meeting on Thursday to review what progress world governments have made in fulfilling their commitments to contain the spread of &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/2003/01/16/42088.html ' target=_blank>HIV/AIDS.
Health ministers and senior officials from 68 countries and representatives from other nations will assess progress toward meeting the targets set four years ago at a historic &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/hotspots/2002/05/04/28226.html ' target=_blank>UN General Assembly special session on HIV/AIDS.
The 2001 special session called on national governments to meeta series of goals to arrest the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015. One ofthe goals is that by the end of 2005, HIV prevalence among young men and women aged 15 to 24 in the most affected countries should be at least 25 percent lower than in 2001, tells XInhuanet.
The world is spending $8 billion to combat the disease but the epidemic affects some 39.4 million people. Last year alone, there were 4.9 million new infections and 3.1 million deaths, the biggest increase to date, according to U.N. figures.
"The response has succeeded in some of the particulars, but it has not matched the epidemic in scale," Annan said. "It is clear that the epidemic continues to outrun our efforts to contain it."
Programs have succeeded in Brazil, which has the most effective AIDS program among developing nations. Cambodia and Thailand have shown substantial progress and several African nations have slowed the rate of infection, Annan said.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969