Britain urged the European Union on Monday to boost the fight against AIDS by improving the availability of condoms to prevent the spread of the disease.
“I don’t think people should die because they have sex,” International Development Secretary Hilary Benn told.
“You need to make sure that people have the means to protect themselves…Giving access to condoms is essential if we are going to beat AIDS,” Benn said.
Benn stressed the economic consequences of the spread of AIDS in Africa. About 39 million people in the world are infected with the HIV virus, the underlying cause of AIDS, and 65 percent of them live in sub-Saharan Africa.
“It is not just a human tragedy, it is also an economic catastrophe,” he said.
The EU ministers will also discuss proposals for member states to pay at least 0.51 percent of their gross national income (GNI) to development aid by 2010 to ensure the bloc meets its pledge to help reduce global poverty.
Benn stressed the need for the EU to be generous when it comes to spending money on aid, saying the need for help in developing countries was “very evident and very clear”.
EU member states have pledged to pay 0.7 percent of GNI by 2015 to help the United Nations reduce poverty in the developing world. So far only four EU states have met or surpassed that goal - Denmark, Sweden, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
Revision date: June 22, 2011
Last revised: by Janet A. Staessen, MD, PhD