Dr. Peter Piot (extreme right) with Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilas Rao Deshmukh (centre) and Maharashtra Minister for Medical Education Suresh Shetty
Mumbai, 11 Nov, 2008: UNAIDS Executive Director and Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations, Dr. Peter Piot has exhorted Maharashtra Chief Minister, Mr. Vilas Rao Deshmukh, to provide personal leadership to the HIV response in the state.
At a meeting in Mumbai, Dr. Piot congratulated the Chief Minister on the formation of the Maharashtra Legislators Forum on AIDS but stressed the need to strengthen it by creating a Secretariat. He also assured him of UNAIDS technical assistance and support in this endeavour.
While expressing his appreciation at the formation of a State AIDS Council in Maharashtra, Dr Piot also stressed that it should meet regularly and direct the HIV response. The meeting was also attended by Mr. Suresh Shetty, State Minister for Medical Education and the Additional Chief Secretary to the Govt, of Maharashtra, Mrs Chandra Iyengar.
Dr Piot pointed out that Maharashtra remains an extremely vulnerable state, especially with respect to commercial sex work and migrant workers, and that high level political advocacy was imperative to upscale the HIV response.