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Tuesday, 3 December 2002
Page: 7016

Senator ALLISON (Victoria) (4.13 p.m.)—At the request of Senator Ridgeway, I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) Sunday, 1 December 2002, was the annual World AIDS Day, and sought to draw international attention to the need to refocus our efforts on:

(a) eliminating all forms of discrimination against people with, or suspected of having, HIV through education about HIV/AIDS,

(b) advocacy for people living with HIV/AIDS, and

(c) promotion of legal protection for people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS,

(ii) the joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Health Organisation released the `AIDS Epidemic Update 2002' in the week beginning 24 November 2002, drawing attention to the fact that the virus is fuelling a widening and increasingly deadly famine in southern Africa, where more than 14 million people are now at risk of starvation and more than 29 million people are already infected with HIV,

(iii) more than 90 per cent of the 42 million people who have HIV or AIDS live in developing countries, and only 2 to 3 per cent have access to antiretroviral drug therapies that are designed to stop or inhibit the spread of HIV,

(iv) the infection rate from HIV in Australia has remained relatively stable over the past few years, but in many countries around the world, particularly in southern Africa and parts of the Asia-Pacific region, the virus is spreading so rapidly that it is now a pandemic, and

(v) some 5 million people were infected worldwide during the past year;

(b) welcomes the decision at the recent meeting of World Trade Organisation ministers to endorse the developing world's better access to affordable medicines, including drugs used in the treatment of HIV/AIDS, but encourages further progress to be made, particularly in relation to access to affordability of antiretroviral drugs; and

(c) reminds the Australian Government that, as a signatory to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, which includes a commitment to stopping the spread of the AIDS pandemic by 2015, Australia needs to do all that is financially and medically possible to assist those countries, especially our nearest neighbours, which are struggling to contain the spread of the virus and to care for those already infected.

Question agreed to.