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International News
Yemen, UNDP Sign Agreement to Strengthen HIV/AIDS Control Efforts in Country

May 13, 2008

Officials from Yemen and the United Nations Development Programme on Monday signed a $10.6 million, three-year agreement to strengthen efforts to fight HIV/AIDS in the country, SABA News reports. The agreement was signed by Abdul-Karim al-Arhabi, Yemen's minister of Planning and International Cooperation, and UNDP Acting Resident Representative Selva Ramachandran.

The program -- which is supported by the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria -- aims to bolster the government's efforts to control the spread of HIV/AIDS within the general population and high-risk groups. It seeks to ensure that the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS, including the right to appropriate medical care, are guaranteed by 2010.

The program also aims to expand coverage of safe blood for transfusions and to create national blood safety standards. In addition, the program plans to scale up HIV/AIDS awareness among officials at all levels, the general population and high-risk groups. Civil society organizations are expected to play an important role in increasing awareness and advocacy under the program, SABA News reports.

Yemen was one of the first countries in the Middle East and North Africa to include HIV/AIDS in its national development agenda, SABA News reports. The government approved a national HIV/AIDS strategy in 2001 and created a national HIV/AIDS task force in 2003 (SABA News, 5/12).

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