More AIDS focus on marginalised groups needed - Annan

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Wednesday called for a greater focus on marginalised groups in the global battle against HIV/AIDS.

Addressing the opening session of a UN High Level Meeting on HIV and AIDS in New York, Annan stressed that delegates would have to work more closely with sex workers, injecting drug users and men who have sex with men if any successes against the pandemic were to be achieved.

"We need to be realistic ... we will not succeed by putting our heads in the sand and pretending that these people do not exist or do not need our help," warned Annan.

Most delegations, particularly those from Islamic countries and some conservative Latin American nations, still failed to mention sex workers, drug users and homosexuals in an updated version of the UN's 2006 declaration of commitment on AIDS, which is being negotiated at the conference.