UN messages on 2011 World AIDS

Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary-General writes…

Heading into the fourth decade of AIDS, we are finally in a position to end the epidemic.  The progress we have made so far is proof that we can realize our vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.

The number of new HIV infections has fallen by more than 20 per cent since 1997. New infections are continuing to decline in most parts of the world. In sub-Saharan Africa, the region most affected by the AIDS epidemic, HIV incidence has decreased in 22 countries.

Among populations at risk, the tide is shifting. Access to HIV prevention services are helping young people, sex workers and their clients, people who inject drugs, men who have sex with men, and transgender people to take control of their health for greater well-being.

Treatment has averted 2.5 million AIDS-related deaths since 1985. Last year alone, 700,000 lives were saved. Some 6.6 million people, nearly half those who need treatment in low- and middle-income countries, are now receiving it.

Synergies between prevention and treatment are speeding up progress.   But to end AIDS, we need to deliver even greater results.

This year in June, the United Nations General Assembly’s High-Level Meeting on AIDS adopted bold targets for 2015: reduce the sexual transmission of HIV by half, eliminate new infections in children, provide treatment for 15 million people living with HIV, end stigma and discrimination, and close the AIDS funding gap.

With strong political will, reasonable financial resources and a firm human rights-based approach, we can achieve all of these targets.

Financing will be critical to success. I urge all concerned to act on the investment framework put forward by UNAIDS and to fully fund the global investment target of up to $24 billion annually. The results would offset the upfront costs in less than one generation.

We must build on the political commitments, investments, energy, activism and determination that have brought us to this turning point.  Momentum is on our side. Let us use it to end AIDS – once and for all.

And Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS added…

Never before in the history of AIDS have we reached a moment where we are able to stand up and say with conviction the end of AIDS is in sight. It has been a year of achievements, of collective action, of resilience and of courage.

In spite of the economic downturn that has stretched the AIDS response to its limits, millions of lives have been saved, as HIV treatment and prevention efforts continue to show results.

World leaders have made new promises—bold, tangible and realistic. These promises now must be delivered in every country, every community and to every person in need.

Fortunately, leaders are standing up to say that an AIDS-free generation is possible and that no child should be born with HIV and no mother should die of AIDS.

The gulf between treatment and prevention has ended. Treatment is prevention. The divide between health and AIDS has narrowed, as AIDS comes out of isolation and into
integrated and holistic health services. The AIDS response has paved the path for a peoplecentred health delivery system, one that values and restores the respect and dignity of every individual.

The road before us is clear and we can accelerate ahead with smart investments, capitalizing on scientific advancements and evidence and respecting human rights. It is why world leaders must fully fund the AIDS response. The global investment target of $22-24 billion is a shared responsibility—of all countries, donors and others. Only together can we secure the future and provide greater and long-term dividends.

Today, on this World AIDS Day, I call upon leaders, communities, parents, people living with HIV and young people to look forward and work towards a world with Zero new HIV infections, Zero discrimination and Zero AIDS-related deaths.

Source: UNAIDS

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