The United Nations has announced the appointment of Michel Kazatchkine as the Secretary-General’s new Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, one of only two regions in the world where HIV is continuing to grow.
In 2011, there were 1.5 million people living with HIV in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and 170 000 people were newly infected with the virus. New infections have risen by more than 22% in the region since 2005 and there is no sign that the epidemics are slowing down.
“Eastern Europe and Central Asia are still facing huge challenges in responding to HIV,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). “With his experience and leadership I am convinced that Mr Kazatchkine will do an excellent job in helping to reverse the epidemic in this pivotal region.”
Michel Kazatchkine is an internationally recognized physician who has devoted thirty years of his professional life to the AIDS response. From 2007 to 2012 he served as the Executive Director of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and from 1998 to 2005 he was Director of the French National Agency for AIDS Research. Between 2005 and 2007 he served as France's Global Ambassador for HIV and Communicable Diseases.
“I am committed to encouraging countries in this region to turn the tide of the epidemic and save millions of lives”, said Mr Kazatchkine. “Together with UNAIDS, I will advocate for an urgent mobilization to respond to the HIV epidemic in Eastern Europe and Central Asia”
As Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS, Mr. Kazatchkine will advocate at the highest levels for the implementation of the 2011 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS and its targets.
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