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Volume 473: debated on Wednesday 12 March 2008

5. What progress is being made in halting and reversing the spread of HIV and AIDS globally by 2015 in accordance with millennium development target 7. (193266)

Last year, the number of people living with HIV and AIDS levelled off for the first time. The number receiving antiretroviral treatment rose from 400,000 in 2003 to more than 2 million in 2006.

Although we all want to help people who have HIV and AIDS, does the Minister accept that we also need to ensure that proper programmes are in place to prevent the further spread of AIDS? Will she tell us what the Department is doing to help to spread the promotion of those educational programmes, in particular the further use of condoms in these areas, so that HIV/AIDS is stopped before it can begin?

My hon. Friend makes an important point, given that nearly 7,000 people are newly infected with HIV every day. Indeed, prevention is crucial to stopping and reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS. We need to improve people’s knowledge, change attitudes, give women more control over their own lives, promote the availability and use of condoms and boost education. On all those matters, DFID is working directly with countries and co-ordinating with other donors.

What steps are the Government taking to promote peer education on HIV and AIDS in developing countries by non-governmental organisations such as Christian Aid? Will she commend the work done by the pioneering group of young people from Wales that recently visited Sierra Leone?

I do indeed endorse peer education programmes, which are very much part of the work that we do, and I commend the young people to whom the hon. Gentleman refers. I have recently met groups of young people who are extremely committed to peer education. People listen to those with whom they identify.