[www.inewsguyana.com] – On the occasion of World AIDS Day, UN Secretary General Ban Ki – moon has called on World Leaders to Unite in common cause to end the epidemic by 2030.
He said the tremendous progress the world is making in responding to the AIDS epidemic is a welcomed one; observing that the fast track approach launched last week will enable the world to reach its goal.
“Almost 14 million people worldwide are now accessing HIV treatment. We have reduced new HIV infections by 38 per cent since 2001. We have prevented 1.16 million infections among new-born babies by providing essential antiretroviral medicines. We are on track to provide anti retroviral therapy to 15 million people by 2015 and to eliminate mother-to-child transmissions within the next few years. Thanks to the dedication and energy of many partners including those in civil society, we continue to tackle and remove laws that stigmatize and discriminate. Progress is accelerating,” the UN SG said in a statement.
He said however that the gains remain fragile; pointing out that some 35 million people are living with HIV today and some19 million of them do not know they have the virus.
“There are important gaps in our response to key groups of people. Two out of three children who need treatment do not get it. Young women are particularly vulnerable in many countries with high HIV prevalence. The AIDS epidemic is increasing in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East, fuelled by stigma, discrimination and punitive laws. And the essential work of community systems and support organizations often lacks support.”
Meanwhile, Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UN AIDS has called for reflection on the lives lost to Ebola and the countries and people affected by the outbreak in West Africa.
“The Ebola outbreak reminds us of the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. People were hiding and scared. Stigma and discrimination were widespread. There were no medicines and there was little hope,” Sidibe added; noting that with global solidarity, social mobilization and civil society activism, the world has been able, together, to transform tragedy into opportunity.
“We have been able to break the conspiracy of silence, to reduce the price of medicines and break the trajectory of the AIDS epidemic. This has saved millions of lives.”
She is hopeful that with Fast-Track Targets like 90–90–90 it will become a reality that by 2020, 90% of people living with HIV know their status, 90% of people who know their HIV positive status are on treatment and that 90% of people on treatment have suppressed viral loads.