HIV/AIDS Will Be Top Priority, New WHO Chief Says in Washington Times Interview

World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Jong-Wook Lee said in a Washington Times interview published today that HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria will be his top priorities, with special emphasis on HIV/AIDS. An important difference between current and past efforts to combat HIV/AIDS is that there now exists real opportunity to provide antiretroviral drugs at affordable prices to HIV-positive individuals worldwide, Lee said. WHO aims to provide antiretroviral drugs to three million HIV-positive individuals by the end of 2005, Lee added. Lee said that prevention, counseling and treatment are all essential to fighting HIV/AIDS. He called for an end to "philosophical discussion" about how to deal with the epidemic and more "practical action" (Zarocostas, Washington Times, 8/4). The complete interview is available online.

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