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Annan, US official discuss galvanizing more support to fight HIV/AIDS crisis

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With an estimated 43 million people now living with HIV/AIDS worldwide, the United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, met today with the Chair of the Global Fund Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to discuss a variety of issues on galvanizing support to combat the crisis.
In April 2001, Mr. Annan issued a call to action for the creation of the Global Fund, a public-private partnership to strengthen coordination of a sustainable contribution to reduce infections, illness and death caused by HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The Secretary-General is patron of the Fund.

According to a UN spokesman, today's meeting would cover the $15 billion pledge for AIDS announced by US President George W. Bush, the food crisis in Africa and its relation to AIDS, and the follow-up to the Group of 8 most industrialized countries' (G-8) meeting on food security in Africa held at the beginning of the month. The US Ambassador to the UN, John D. Negroponte, and other senior UN officials are also expected to attend the luncheon.

Speaking to the press before the luncheon with Mr. Annan, Fund Chairman Tommy Thompson, US Secretary for Health and Human Services, said President Bush "is advocating a $15 billion commitment to fight HIV/AIDS," $1 billion of which would go into the Global Fund.

"We are trying to get non-governmental organizations, private companies as well as other countries to realize the importance of this tremendous fight," Mr. Thompson added. "We need more involvement from other countries and that's why the luncheon with Kofi Annan and John Negroponte is so important."