Speaking at a meeting of the Group of Eight leaders with students from the G8 countries, Vladimir Putin said: "If programs now in the making are implemented, access to drugs will be provided for all HIV carriers."
The leaders of the world's major industrialized nations have made the fight against HIV/AIDS one of the main topics on the agenda of their current three-day meeting near St. Petersburg.
Delegates to the Junior 8 forum, held in the run-up to the G8 summit, have also raised concerns over the spread of the deadly virus across the globe. At Sunday's meeting with the leaders of Russia, France, Britain, Germany, Italy, the United States, Canada and Japan, they brought up the problem of providing access to medical services for HIV/AIDS patients, including in rural areas, and suggested softening visa regulations for immunologists willing to share their expertise with colleagues overseas.
They also spoke in favor of broader information campaigns to raise young people's awareness of HIV/AIDS and make them more sympathetic to sufferers.
The first meeting of J8 took place in Edinburgh in 2005 during the G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland.