New WHO director says AIDS will be primary focus

BY Advocate.com Editors

July 21 2003 11:00 PM ET

Jong-Wook Lee, who on Monday assumed the position of director general of the World Health Organization, said he will boost the organization's commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS in developing nations, Agence France-Presse reports. As part of that commitment, Lee said WHO will soon begin providing HIV antiretroviral drugs to 3 million HIV-positive people in poor countries. Lee also said he has charged WHO's HIV/AIDS department with developing a worldwide plan to fight the disease by World AIDS Day on December 1. "We must scale up an integrated global HIV/AIDS strategy linking prevention, care, and treatment, prioritizing poor and underserved areas," Lee said Monday in Geneva. "The international community must act now."

Lee, a South Korean physician who has worked at WHO for 19 years, succeeds Gro Harlem Brundtland as WHO director general. Brundtland, a physician who was Norway's prime minister for 10 years, urged both rich and poor nations to focus on health issues, arguing that improving a nation's health promotes economic growth and development.

Tags: Health

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