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Clinton and Mandela rally AIDS fight

Clinton said everyone can do something in the battle against AIDS
Clinton said everyone can do something in the battle against AIDS  

BARCELONA, Spain (CNN) -- Former U.S. president Bill Clinton and former South African president Nelson Mandela have called on the international community to fight the scourge of AIDS.

In speeches at the close of the 14th International AIDS Conference, in Barcelona, Spain, Clinton and Mandela decried the march of the pandemic across the globe and praised those in the front lines who are battling it.

"Every citizen on our small planet has a personal interest in ending AIDS," the former U.S. president said.

"There is something for everyone to do."

CNN's Sanjay Gupta highlights speeches from Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela at the AIDS Conference in Barcelona, Spain (July 12)

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Clinton said "wealthy nations" should decide what should be each one's share of the $10 billion a year that "the secretary-general of the United Nations and the experts have said is required to spend" to battle AIDS.

"We should figure out what our share is and we should pay it," he said.

He called on "leaders everywhere in and out of government must move aggressively to end the stigma and denial" associated with the disease.

"There are still people who view AIDS as something that affects only people who are different," said Clinton.

"They're also our friends and our neighbours."

Clinton said he "lost a member" of his administration to AIDS, but did not say who.

As for the stigma, Clinton referred to a Human Rights Watch report about police abuse of front-line AIDS prevention workers in India.

"In our interdependent world, we have to suffer the sorrows of each other," Clinton said.

Mandela, the former South African president, also said world leaders "must do everything" to fight the stigma associated with the HIV virus.

He said the war against AIDS is a fight that "requires mobilisation" of all.

"We must show we care about all those affected by this terrible disease and that we are doing something about it," he said.

"There is no reason why sufferers should hide that they have been infected by this pandemic," Mandela said, adding "when you keep quiet you are signing your own death warrant."

"We must find ways and means to make lifesaving treatment available to all who need it," Mandela said.

Noting that "there are nearly 40 million children who have lost one or both parents to AIDS," and other children suffer from the disease itself, Mandela said, "Nothing can shake me more than sight of these innocent young children suffering physically, socially and emotionally."



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