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Wednesday, 01 December 2004

Statement by Commissioner Louis Michel on World AIDS Day – 1 December 2004

The World AIDS Day must be an occasion to remind us all of the need to reinforce our commitment to confront HIV/AIDS in Europe and throughout the world, when the pandemic continues to spread and the number of people currently living with HIV/AIDS gets close to 40 million.Girls and women carry a heavier burden and are affected more often and at an earlier age by HIV/AIDS than men. The situation is particularly critical in Sub-Saharan Africa, where higher rates of poverty among women, the lack of education leading to lower literacy rates, lack of access to effective prevention tools, the pervasive effects of gender inequality, and sexual violence inside and outside marriage make women more susceptible to infection. Moreover, the number of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS grows day by day to beyond the 15 million already affected.

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