UN chief calls for joint efforts to end AIDS by 2030

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon on Monday called on world leaders to work together to end AIDS by 2030, saying that the fast track approach launched last week by the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS will enable the world to reach the bold goal.

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The fast track strategy outlines a set of targets that would need to be reached by 2020, including 90 percent of people living with HIV knowing their HIV status; 90 percent of people who know their HIV-positive status on treatment; and 90 percent of people on treatment with suppressed viral loads.

In a message on World AIDS Day, marked annually on Dec. 1, the UN chief listed progress made over the past years: almost 14 million people worldwide are now accessing HIV treatment; new HIV infections have been reduced by 38 percent since 2001; and an estimated 1.16 million infections among newborn babies have been prevented.

However, confronting the challenges ahead, he said the gains remain fragile.

UN statistics show that currently, there are 35 million people living with HIV, and some 19 million of them do not know they have the virus. Two out of three children who need treatment do not get it. And the AIDS epidemic is increasing in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East, fueled by stigma, discrimination and punitive laws.

“We know that medical systems alone are not enough to provide robust healthcare,” he said. “Social justice, the democratization of science, shared responsibility for financing, human rights and gender equity, and a people-centered approach to health are all lessons we have learned in the AIDS response that are being applied across the board, including in our discussions on the post- 2015 development agenda.”

World AIDS Day is held on Dec. 1 each year to raise awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection, and mourn those who have died of the disease. This year, the theme is closing the gap, which means empowering and enabling all people, everywhere, to access the medical services they need. PNA

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