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World Health Organization welcomes Canada's landmark contribution to the global 3 by 5 AIDS treatment initiative

Today the World Health Organization (WHO) extended its gratitude to the Canadian government for the Prime Minister's announcement of a contribution of CAD $ 100 million over two years for the WHO target of treating three million people living with AIDS by the end of 2005.

"Canada has demonstrated vision and leadership in supporting a new initiative. This contribution to '3 by 5' will make it possible for WHO to help catalyse efforts at the country level to urgently treat three million people living with AIDS," said Dr LEE Jong-wook, Director-General of WHO. "Yet again, Canada has been an extremely strong supporter of WHO and is visionary in its approach to enable people around the world to access affordable medicines. Three years ago they did the same for the Stop TB partnership in supporting a new global drug facility, " said Dr Lee.

There are 34 - 46 million people infected with HIV around the world. In the developing world, six million people need access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) to survive. Every year three million die because they do not get treatment, and today only 400 000 people in the developing world have access to treatment. WHO's goal is universal access to AIDS treatment. AIDS treatment is part of a comprehensive AIDS strategy, linking prevention, treatment, care and support.

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For more information contact:

Ms Samantha Bolton
Telephone: +41 22 791 1970
Mobile phone: +41 79 239 2366

Ms Christine McNab
Telephone: +41 22 791 4688
Mobile phone: +41 79 254 6815