UN: UN chief launches new report on HIV/AIDS reponse

New York US (PANA) - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday in Barbados in the Caribbeans launched a major new UN report, stressing the need for an inclusive, rights-based and stigma-free response to wipe out the AIDS epidemic.

He said that ending the AIDS epidemic around the world was essential to realizing the vision of a life of dignity for all.

In a speech to mark the launch of the report, entitled: "Defeating AIDS- Advancing Global Health", Ban said the epidemic was being  aggravated by punitive laws and stigma, as well as efforts by governments to finance adequate response to the epidemic.

The report, which was produced by the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and renowned medical journal, The Lancet, warned that despite some advances in the battles against the disease, the rate of new HIV infections was not falling fast enough.

As a result, it called for an urgent need to scale up AIDS efforts, and for governments to ramp up HIV prevention efforts, and continue expanding access to treatment.

The UN chief said that, the epidemic was only made worse by punitive laws and stigma, but also by lack of access to life-saving treatment.

"Homophobia threatens both human rights and public health. We cannot tolerate discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, nor on the basis of gender identity. We must also defend the human rights of sex workers and of people who inject drugs," he stated.

He said the report had four main messages. First, the world has the knowledge, tools and know-how to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030, and the report has spelled out how to achieve this.

"Second, we need to urgently increase and fully fund our AIDS response. Today the world invests US$19 billion annually in addressing AIDS. To reach our targets, we need to almost double this amount," Ban said, calling for a rapid scale-up – led by countries, with critical support from global and private partners over the next five years so the world will be on track to end the epidemic by 2030.

Third, we should apply lessons learned from the AIDS response to other complex challenges. Young people, women, gay activists and campaigners for equality drive progress and activism pushes boundaries–to ensure access to affordable medicines, political influence and justice.

"Fourth, we can leave no one behind. AIDS will only end when we protect the human rights of all. This disease thrives on unjust power relations and inequalities. We have to battle all forms of societal ills including stigma, intolerance, discrimination and violence," Ban noted.

He said that ending the epidemic would demand the achievement of gender equality, adding: "We need to protect sexual and reproductive rights, and we need to give adolescents life-skills, including education about their sexuality."

"AIDS is about more than human health – it is fundamentally an issue of human rights,"
the UN chief added.
-0- PANA AA/MA 3July2015

03 july 2015 22:27:37




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