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Bruni embraces role as AIDS ambassador

The French First Lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, today said that she would work to protect mothers and children against the HIV virus as a global ambassador for the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Mme Bruni-Sarkozy, who lost her older brother Vittorio to AIDS in 2006, told reporters the fight against the virus was a subject close to her heart.

"I want to divert some of the media attention that is continually focused on myself onto the work of this organisation. I have chosen to focus on mothers and children, who are the most vulnerable victims of this disease," she said.

The transmission of the HIV virus from mother to child, which accounts for 400 000 new infections each year, can be prevented with relatively simple measures that are not available to women in the developing world, Mme Bruni-Sarkozy said.

"Women in France are informed, have access to testing and are taken care of during birth. Women in the developing world and their children have a right to the same level of protection".