UN: Ban stresses need to stop stigma against people living with HIV/AIDS

New York, US (PANA) - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday stressed the need to stop stigma and abuse against those living with HIV/AIDS and to ensure that they receive the care, treatment and protection they are entitled to.

"Hatred and bigotry spread disease and – as the founders of this movement taught – silence equals death," Ban said in his remarks at a special event commemorating World AIDS Day, which is marked on 1 December.

The UN chief stated: "Tolerance and awareness help stop AIDS. Speaking out protects life."

He highlighted the progress made in addressing the disease, including halving the number of children infected through mother-to-child transmission and doubling the number of people with access to medicines.

He also called for action to ensure that the target of providing treatment to 30 million people by 2030 is met, saying: "This requires that we reach the most vulnerable communities – the young women in Sub-Saharan Africa, people who inject drugs, gay men and other men who have sex with men, and the poor who need services and care."

Ban noted that the Sustainable Development Goal 3 on health has a specific target (Target 3.3) on ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

PANA in New York reports that the event opened with presentation of awards commemorating Ban's leadership on HIV/AIDS during his tenure as UN chief.

Presenting the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Leadership Award, UNAIDS Executive Director, Mr. Michel Sidibe said that, "honouring the UN Secretary-General is a very easy task because you are a true leader that has been able to demonstrate over the past decade that peoples’ dignity is central to your agenda."

"You (Ban) have been taking courageous decisions to visit people where people were looking for hope because they were excluded for who they were, because they were injecting drugs or because of their sexuality. You have been putting their dignity at the front of your personal fight," Sidibe said.

He said that, "while the UN is known for processes, Mr. Ban had called for results."

"Indeed, in the time that UNAIDS had stepped up its programmes to end the epidemic the numbers of people in treatment had jumped from just three million people in treatment to more than 13 million today. It is not all about numbers; this is lives, families who are now capable of giving hope to their children," he emphasized.

The special event was organized by UNAIDS under the theme: "Moving forward together: Leaving no one behind" to garner support to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

A highlight of this year’s World AIDS Day is the launch of the hands up for #HIVprevention campaign that will explore different aspects of HIV prevention and how they relate to specific groups of people, such as adolescent girls and young women, key populations and people living with HIV.
-0-  PANA  AA  30Nov2016

30 november 2016 20:31:15

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