From UNAIDS.com, September 3, 2010:
UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé congratulated the Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan on his country’s generosity to the AIDS response. Japan has invested more than US$ 1 billion in HIV assistance to low-and middle-income countries since 2002. Japan is a leading donor of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which was first conceived at the 2000 G8 summit in Okinawa.
In his address at the opening of the “Access to Life” photo exhibition in Tokyo, Prime Minister Kan emphasized the commitment of the Government of Japan to support the global AIDS response at the upcoming Summit for the Millennium Development Goals.
“Infectious diseases are a threat to human security, but progress in treatment has enabled people living with HIV to lead normal lives,” said Prime Minister Kan. “At the MDG Summit, I will do my best to present strong support for the global AIDS response through our support for the Global Fund.”
In a public address at Tokyo University, Mr Sidibé urged Tokyo to become the first G8 capital to reach UNAIDS’ bold target of zero new HIV infections by 2015. Japan has a low national HIV prevalence rate of 0.01-0.02%.
Mr Sidibé paid a site visit to the MSM Community Center AKTA which is located in the heart of Tokyo’s famous Shinjuku district. This night district houses one of the world’s highest concentration of gay bars. The community centre run by the Japanese non-profit Rainbow Ring provides information on safe sex, peer counseling and HIV testing. While Japan’s HIV prevalence remains low, new HIV cases among MSM have been increasing.
Japan's efforts abroad are surely to be commended. But the HIV/AIDS situation domestically is severely downplayed in this article. It is a fact that HIV/AIDS rates continue to rise in Japan. It is also a fact that the official statistics are not accurate at all. Why Japan encourages HIV/AIDS education and awareness abroad but not within its own country is incredibly disturbing. Why UNAIDS thinks that Japan will have a zero rate of new infections anytime soon is incredibly naive and unfortunate.
While the Access to Life exhibition, which can be seen in Tokyo September 5-22, is extremely admirable, it would be beneficial if there were a Japanese domestic version.
For more information:
Link to "UNAIDS Executive Director commends Japan’s commitment to AIDS and the Global Fund"
Link to Access to Life Photo Exhibition
Link to previous VAOJ posts on HIV/AIDS in Japan