HHS Secretary Visits SE Asia to Advance Product Safety, Pandemic Flu Efforts

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt announced this week that he is visiting Indonesia, Singapore, and Vietnam to advance the administration's efforts to improve the safety of imports and to review cooperative efforts to reduce the spread of disease, including HIV/AIDS and highly pathogenic avian influenza. Leavitt will meet with senior government officials and business leaders in the three countries, and visit sites related to product safety, and the research, care, and treatment of infectious diseases.

"By working together, we can improve the safety of food and other products and build a common defense against disease," Leavitt said. "I am excited by the opportunity to work with my counterparts in Southeast Asia to work against disease, notably influenza and HIV/AIDS, and to improve the quality of products for our people."

The United States has identified Indonesia and Vietnam as priority countries for pandemic influenza preparedness and response, and has provided funding and expertise for these efforts. The United States also assists in combating HIV/AIDS through such programs as the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Vietnam is one of the 15 focus countries of the Emergency Plan.

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