UN: AIDS conference urges end of discrimination, more support for HIV care

New York, US (PANA) - As the 21st International AIDS Conference wrapped up in Durban, South Africa, the Deputy Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV / AIDS (UNAIDS), Luiz Loures, called for ending discrimination against patients, especially those from the most vulnerable populations, as well as bolster more HIV care and resources to end the epidemic.

Mr. Loures, who briefed UN reporters in New York on Saturday via video-conference from Durban, said: "The Durban conference was marked by the phenomenal progress made over the last 15 years to enhance people's lives and expand access to treatment.

"The conference was also marked by new challenges, one of which is the increase in new infections among the most vulnerable populations, including gay men, sex workers, migrants, prisoners and young women.

"The main problem was not the disease itself, because we have the knowledge and tools necessary to control it. But, the biggest obstacle we face is beyond the AIDS epidemic."

The UNAIDS deputy chief also pointed to the discrimination and stigma that act against vulnerable communities with high prevalence of the epidemic, describing them as major challenges confronting HIV/AIDS prevention and control.

Mr. Loures further stressed the need to maintain financial support to continue making progress in the fight against the epidemic."Without this support, the world will be exposed in the future to a resurgence of the epidemic," he warned.

The International AIDS Conference, which opened on 18 July under the theme: "Access, Equity, Rights, Now", was the largest on any global health or development issue. It was first convened during the peak of the AIDS epidemic in 1985.

According to UNAIDS, a co-organizer of the AIDS conference, the global AIDS response has since evolved, with the number of people with access to life-saving HIV treatment reaching 15 million by 2015.

It disclosed that from 2002 to 2012, expanded access to HIV treatment averted 4.2 million deaths globally and contributed to a 58 per cent reduction in new HIV infections.

It, however, noted that many of the obstacles that impeded effective HIV prevention and treatment programmes in 2000 still exist, with more than 60 per cent of people living with HIV remaining without anti-retroviral therapy.

At opening of the conference, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on participants to commit to a new era of fast-track response to end the epidemic by mobilizing more resources to prevent new infections and treat those already affected.

The fast-track response mechanism seeks to achieve the 90-90-90 targets by 2020: 90 per cent of people living with HIV know their HIV status, 90 per cent of people who know their HIV-positive status are accessing treatment and 90 per cent of people on treatment have suppressed viral loads.

This year, the conference focused on the work that remains to be done if the world is to achieve the global goal of ending AIDS by 2030.

Nearly 18,000 delegates from 183 countries discussed strengthening treatment programmes, prevention, HIV care and support, support for research on HIV/AIDS, the refusal of marginalization of vulnerable population; the fight against discriminatory laws; and defence of HIV response centred on communities and rights-based.
-0-  PANA  AA/AR  23July2016

23 july 2016 17:36:08




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