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Ms Suu Kyi's World Aids Day Message

Message from Daw Aung San Suu Kyi,
General Secretary for the National League for Democracy (Burma)
and 1991 Nobel Peace Laureate
To Mark World Aids Day 1998, December 1st
[for release on saturday, november 28, 1998]

	The control of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus is about the control of
our future. So many of our people in Burma, especially the young, are
vulnerable because of the poor quality of our health care and social
services, and because the authorities are not prepared to recognize the
enormity of the problem and to come to grips with it.

	International agencies and NGOs fear that HIV infection in Burma is
spreading at an alarming rate. We need effective education programmes and
services now. Unless we act urgently, HIV infection could reach epidemic
proportions in our country and become a major threat to our social
stability and economic potential.

	Poor countries struggling to achieve sustainable human development cannot
afford to underestimate the importance of proper AIDS education and care.
The battle against AIDS is not merely a health issue, it is a battle
against ignorance, poverty, indifference, prejudice and callousness. We
need to educate whole societies, not only that we may be able to control
the spread of the HIV infection but also that those who have already
contracted the virus may be treated with understanding and compassion. It
is a sad irony that often those societies where there is most need for such
care and education are precisely those that lack the social, political and
financial framework within which necessary programmes can be implemented.
This is why the whole international community , rich nations as well as
poor, need to join together to cope with the problems related to HIV

	While we cannot overestimate the value of education programmes for the
prevention and care of AIDS, on this World AIDS Day, I would like to make a
special appeal to the rich nations of the world to commit more of their
resources towards research on finding a cure for the Human Immunodeficiency
Virus. Please do not think of working towards a cure for HIV as a "poor
country problem" but as a human concern. The gift of health and life is the
greatest gift that we can give to our fellow men.

	I would like to conclude with a message for those who are already
suffering from AIDS. Please do not despair. There are many in the world who
feel with you and respect you for your courage and fortitude. For those who
are caring for AIDS sufferers, I would simply like to express my deep
admiration. My heart goes out to both sufferers and carers in warm sympathy.

Aung San Suu Kyi
Rangoon, November 1998