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Howard calls for action on AIDS

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 21 November 2004

Prime Minister John Howard has made a strong statement on the international problem of HIV and AIDS at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders summit in Chile.

Mr Howard says that governments need to lead with unambiguous and determined policies.

He has told the heads of government of the 21 APEC economies that AIDS needs to be addressed in a "direct, no-nonsense fashion".

Mr Howard says that has not happened in parts of Africa.

"It's not just a question of more and more billions of dollars being made available by wealthy countries," he said.

"You've got to have well directed public education programs and you've got to deal with these things in a very upfront fashion.

"This applies whether you're dealing with HIV and AIDS, whether you're dealing with smoking, whether you're dealing with any of these issues."

Mr Howard also says that government commitment is needed in countries where HIV and AIDS are a growing problem.

"Australia - and I'm not just speaking of my government, but of other governments - we've been very successful with public health programs," he said.

"We do tend to deal with many of these issues in a fairly direct, no-nonsense fashion and unless that happens you're not going to get results.

"Tragically in parts of Africa that hasn't happened."

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