UN AIDS Summit Begins Wednesday

On Wednesday, 30 heads of state and heads of government will meet at the United Nations headquarters in New York in order to discuss the future of the global HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment strategy.

Most of the leaders at the summit will be coming from those countries that have been hit particularly hard by the AIDS epidemic, many of which are located in Africa.

Presidents Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Ali Bongo of Gabon, and Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria will be among the African heads of state at the summit. Delegations from a number of major funding countries are expected to be in attendance as well.

By the end of the summit, delegates are expected to set the figures on how many people out of the 34 million living with AIDS will qualify for new drugs and therapies that have been shown to effectively prevent the spread of the disease.

While Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Border) has called on the summit to set a target of nine million people, policy advisor Sharonann Lynch said: "The world needs an ambitious HIV/AIDS treatment target with a plan attached to make it a reality -- because it will be meaningless if countries aren't willing to come up with the cash and actions needed to break the back of the epidemic".

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