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His Majesty King Mswati III

December 2001

King Mswati III is 33 years old and has reigned as the King of Swaziland for the last 15 years. In February 1999 His Majesty King Mswati III declared a state of emergency in Swaziland in response to the rising prevalence of HIV infection. This resulted in the formation of a multi-sectoral crisis management and technical committee and a cabinet level HIV/AIDS committee. In 2000, His Majesty chaired a national AIDS consultative forum which included traditional leaders, people living with HIV/AIDS, civic groups, business leaders and government officials. His Majesty King Mswati III serves as the patron of a youth group called "Khulisa Umtfwana" (Grow Up a Child) which promotes traditional activities for young people. In May 2001, His Majesty launched a fund-raising initiative to assist Southern African countries to respond to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

The young people featured with His Majesty King Mswati III are all HIV-positive and are members of Swaziland AIDS Service Organization (SASO).

"We must embrace a culture of compassion towards those who have contracted HIV and not treat them as outcasts from community life."

-- His Majesty King Mswati III

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