On Wednesday, 13 African first ladies gathered in Burkina Faso for a day-long summit on coordinating efforts to fight HIV/AIDS, which claimed the lives of 2.3 million Africans last year. The goals of the summit were to develop strategic plans aimed at halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and to give women a greater role in preventing and resolving African conflicts. The vast majority of people living with HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa are women ages 15-24, and this could have serious implications for the growth and sustainability of populations throughout the continent, said Chantal Biya, president of the African Synergy Against HIV/AIDS and Suffering, which sponsored the summit. One in 10 African women benefit from drugs that prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission, said the conference attendees, who set a goal to double that figure by the end of 2005.
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