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Swiss Aids agency warns against complacency

The cocktail of drugs used to help patients with Aids Keystone

The director of Switzerland's official Aids agency has warned that the threat of the disease should not be underestimated.

Speaking in Berne on Tuesday during an information session in the wake of July’s 13th World Aids Conference in South Africa, Gredig said 42 people died of Aids in Switzerland last year, and that fewer than 600 new cases of the disease were reported.

But he warned that although Aids cases in Switzerland were in decline, efforts at prevention needed to be maintained. “We have to fight against the attitude that prevention is no longer necessary”, he said.

He added that the task now was not only to cut the number of cases, but also to maintain the quality of life of sufferers, and prevent discrimination in the workplace.

The 14th World Aids Conference is due to take place in Barcelona in 2002. Ruth Rutmann, of Switzerland’s Aids agency, said the prevention campaign needed to continue, and that adequate funds should be set aside in the national budget to support awareness campaigns and medical research.

The United Nations estimates that up to 42 million people worldwide are either HIV positive or suffering from full-blown Aids.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR