27 November 2000


27 November 2000

Press Release



‘Men Make a Difference’ to Focus on Changes in Male Attitudes

The United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) are organizing an event in observance of World AIDS Day, to take place on 1 December at 10 a.m. in Conference Room 4. In keeping with the theme designated by UNAIDS for its World AIDS Campaign this year, “AIDS: Men Make a Difference”, there will be a town- hall-format discussion on changes in male attitudes and behaviours that could halt the spread of AIDS. The event is co-sponsored by DPI, UNAIDS, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and loveLife/The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Kensaku Hogen, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, will begin the programme with some welcoming remarks. Harri Holkeri, President of the fifty-fifth session of the General Assembly, Louise Fréchette, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, and Elhadj Sy, Representative, UNAIDS Liaison Office in New York, will deliver opening remarks.

Riz Khan, Anchor, CNN International, will moderate the town-hall discussion, which will focus on the role of men in combating the AIDS epidemic. Participants will include Nafis Sadik, Executive Director, UNFPA; Wendy Fitzwilliam, Miss Universe 1998 (Trinidad and Tobago) and UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador; Johann Koss, former Olympic speed skater (Norway) and UNICEF Special Representative for Sports; Mechai Viravaidya, Chairman, Population and Community Development Association (Thailand); Fisho Mwale, Deputy Coordinator, African Mayors' Initiative for Community Action on AIDS at the Local Level (Zambia); Rubaramira Ruranga, National Coordinator, Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Uganda; Jane Galvao, Advisor, International Cooperation, National STD/AIDS Programme, Ministry of Health (Brazil); Steve Perrine, Editorial Creative Director, Men's Health magazine; and four Teen Editors -- Keri Ann Hutchinson, Trent Spinner, Camille Carby and Elizabeth Daley -- from Children's Express New York Bureau.

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Also taking part in the discussion are several representatives of loveLife, a national HIV prevention programme in South Africa which is implemented through a consortium of non-governmental organizations. LoveLife combines a high-powered media campaign with a nationwide drive to develop adolescent sexual health services, outreach and support programmes. Participating in the observance at Headquarters are Mashapa Machaba, fifteen- year-old Anchor of the weekly television talk show "S'camto" ("Talk about it"); David Schneider, a fourteen-year-old aspiring actor known for his appearances in the loveLife campaign to encourage parents to talk to their children about sex and HIV; Joel Makitla, manager of the loveLife Y-Centre in a peri-urban squatter community outside Johannesburg; Eric Mandla Sibeko, a law student and member of the loveLife national advisory board; and Judi Nwokedi, a psychologist and health-rights advocate who develops media content for loveLife.

The programme will be webcast live on the Internet. Remarks made by individual speakers will also be available for on-demand playback following the conclusion of the programme. The webcast can be accessed via the special web page created for World AIDS Day at

On Thursday, 30 November, UNAIDS will hold a press briefing at 12:30 p.m. in Room 226. Elhadj Sy, UNAIDS representative and members of the loveLife programme will provide an overview of the global HIV/AIDS epidemic and its impact on youth, as well as a preview of the following day’s town-hall meeting.

According to UNAIDS, men have the power to change the course of the AIDS epidemic by adopting more positive attitudes and behaviours, including rethinking harmful concepts of masculinity, the way adult men look on risk and sexuality, and the ways in which boys are socialized to become men. According to Peter Piot, Executive Director, UNAIDS, “The time is ripe to start seeing men not as some kind of problem, but as part of the solution.” This year’s World AIDS Campaign, “Men Make a Difference”, aims to involve men more fully in the effort against AIDS and to bring about a new, much-needed focus on men in national responses to the epidemic.

World AIDS Day was established on 1 December 1988 by the World Health Organization, and its annual observance was mandated by General Assembly resolution A/43/15. Since its establishment in 1996, UNAIDS has expanded the single day’s observance into a year-long World AIDS Campaign, with World AIDS Day as a focal point.

For more information, please call (212) 963-6923 or (212) 584-5012; for media accreditation, (212) 963-6934; for United Nations television coverage, (212) 963-7650.

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For information media. Not an official record.