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Positive.negative photographic exhibition about HIV/AIDS in the region.

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The Hon Christine Gallus MP

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

16 December 2003

Positive.Negative Photographic Exhibition about HIV/AIDS in the Region

'The HIV/AIDS pandemic is decimating populations in developing countries,' the Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Mrs Chris Gallus, said today to mark the Melbourne launch of positive.negative.

'The photographic exhibition, in Federation Square until 23 December, is about young people and HIV/AIDS in the Asia-Pacific,' Mrs Gallus said.

'Five of Australia's top photographers visited HIV/AIDS projects in PNG, Indonesia, China, Vietnam and Thailand to document the effect the pandemic is having on the region.

'positive.negative also shows Australia's efforts in responding to HIV/AIDS in the Asia-Pacific, in particular the work with our neighbours to tackle the virus and care for those infected.

'With more than 42 million people around the world living with the virus and about 7.5 million people infected in the Asia-Pacific, HIV/AIDS is a serious issue for Australia and the region.

'Basic health services, high levels of unemployment, poverty, disease and a lack of sanitation are exacerbated by HIV/AIDS.

'HIV/AIDS is taking its toll on these countries as it infects and affects millions of the next generation on whom future development depends.

'The Australian Government, through AusAID, is leading the fight against the epidemic, particularly in the Asia-Pacific.

'In 2000, Australia committed $200 million over six years towards the Global AIDS Initiative, with $85 million already spent on activities to reduce infections,' Mrs Gallus said.

The exhibition is touring Australia from December until February.

Media Contacts: Shane Fairlie (Office of Mrs Gallus) (02) 6277 4840 or 0408 680 442 Jo Elsom (AusAID) (02) 6206 4960 or 0412 804 489