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The 5th Central American Congress on STD’s, HIV and AIDS, will reunite scientists and specialists from diverse subject areas, people living with HIV, the Executive Director of ONUSIDA and the princess of Norway

MANAGUA, 4 November 2007 - The Latin American/Caribbean sub-region most affected by HIV and AIDS, after the Caribbean, is Central America. The 5th Central American Congress on STD’s, HIV and AIDS (CONCASIDA), is being held in Managua, Nicaragua from 4 - 9 November. UNAIDS, the Joint Program of the United Nations on HIV and AIDS, greets this scientific and technical effort to which it offers technical and financial support.

The answer to HIV and AIDS demands joint efforts from both governmental and civil society. The commitments made at the United Nation’s Millennium Summit and the Special Session of the United Nations on HIV and AIDS in 2001 mandates an ample answer to the epidemic so that the goals established can be achieved by governments.

The United Nations sent a team of 30 experts to the Congress in Managua to contribute to the scientific debate of important issues, among them Peter Piot, Executive Director of UNAIDS and Assistant General Secretary of the United Nations, who will participate in key events of the Congress.

The 5th CONCASIDA will be distinguished by the presence of HRH Mette-Marit, princess of Norway and special representative of UNAIDS. Regional directors of Latin America and the Caribbean of the World Food Program (WFP), UNAIDS, and UNICEF will participate in the conclave, which reflects the interest of both UN agencies and programs in finding the answer to the pandemic.

Key issues
During CONCASIDA a series of conferences, roundtables, workshops, and panels will take place to discuss, teach, and provide information about HIV and its relation with key issues.  These issues include: human rights, childhood, stigmatization and discrimination, sexual diversity, nutrition, indigenous populations, effective communication, ethics, ethnic communities in Central America, sexual violence and woman’s issues.

Four of the top six Latin American countries with the highest rates of infection by HIV are in Central America, (2.5 per cent of the population in Belize, 1.6 per cent in Honduras and 0.9 per cent in Guatemala and El Salvador). AIDS is among the top ten causes of death in three of the six countries of Central America (Honduras, Guatemala, and Panama). It is estimated that in Central America there are at the moment 208,600 people with HIV of a total of 1.7 million people that live with the virus in Latin America.

It has also been estimated that by the year 2010 the epidemic in Central America could reach a rate of prevalence in the adult population of two per cent, number that in some cases could be exceeded.

About UNAIDS: UNAIDS is an innovative joint venture of the United Nations, bringing together the efforts and resources of the UNAIDS Secretariat and ten UN system organizations in the AIDS response. The Secretariat headquarters is in Geneva, Switzerland—with staff on the ground in more than 80 countries. Coherent action on AIDS by the UN system is coordinated in countries through UN theme groups, and joint programmes on AIDS. UNAIDS’ Cosponsors include UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank. Visit the UNAIDS Web site at http://www.unaids.org/

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For further information, please contact:
Ana María Ortiz Oficial, Communications Officer, Tel +  (507) 301-7482/Cel: 66714-3612mailto:OrtizAortiz@unicef.org




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