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Nepali gov't to upgrade AIDS preventive measures
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Nepali Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal said that the government would increase resources and speed up actions for preventing, treating and controlling HIV/AIDS in the country, state-run daily The Rising Nepal reported on Thursday.

"It is necessary to mount the attempts for prevention, treatment and control of HIV/AIDS and the government will fulfill its every responsibility by increasing resources and taking up measures to this end," Prime Minister M.K. Nepal said addressing the second meeting of the National AIDS Council in Nepali capital Kathmandu.

The Prime Minister, who is also the chairman of the Council, said, "I am sad that this meeting is taking place after seven years and surprised to hear that it has taken more than a year to prepare the draft of HIV/AIDS Act." The meeting took place after seven years' gap.

He said that after he assumed the office he asked the secretaries to provide him details which committees he headed and was patron of. "When I learnt that the Council's meeting had not taken place for seven years, I instructed one to be held immediately," Prime Minister Nepal said.

The Prime Minister also instructed all the ministers to hold meeting of all the government agencies that they headed and take necessary steps for making them effective.

Nepal termed the issue of HIV/AIDS as an important development agenda.

"We are committed to fulfill the responsibility of the state in responding to HIV/AIDS and we urge all the other organizations working in the field to increase their resources and activities," Nepal said urging the international community for their increased attention.

The Prime Minister urged all the government agencies working in the field of HIV/AIDS including National Center for HIV/AIDS and STD Control (NCASC) to be effective.

Dr. Laxmi Raj Pathak, director of NCAS, presented a report highlighting the activities of the Center and a picture of HIV/AIDS status in Nepal.

He said that so far 70,000 people were estimated to have been infected with the disease and that there were 200 VCT sites, 23 ART sites and 17 PMTCT sites for treating, caring and preventing the transmission of the disease.

He said that the most risky places for the disease were the districts along the East-West highway in southern Nepal bordering India.

(Xinhua News Agency August 27, 2009)

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