UN: UN marks World AIDS Day with hope to end epidemic by 2030

New York, US (PANA) -The first World AIDS Day since political leaders committed to ending
the epidemic by 2030, as part of the UN-led Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), has
generated "new hope to break the epidemic and keep it from rebounding in an unparalleled
opportunity to change the course of history for ever", a UN statement said on Tuesday.

"This year, we mark World AIDS Day with new hope," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
said in his message on the Day, which is celebrated on 1 December each year as one of
the most recognized international 'health days'.

He noted that the commemoration of the day was a key opportunity to raise awareness,
commemorate those who have passed on, and celebrate victories, such as increased
access to treatment and prevention services.

The UN chief applauded the staunch advocacy of activists, the persistent efforts of health
workers, the principled stance of human rights defenders and the courage of all those
who have joined forces to fight for global progress against the disease.

"We have a lot to learn from the AIDS response, and one by one, people stood up for
science, human rights and the empowerment of all those living with HIV, and this is how
we will end the epidemic: by moving forward together," Ban said.

On his part, Mr. Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS
(UNAIDS) said in his message: "Countries are implementing the agency's Fast-Track
Strategy, and together with front-loaded investments, we can expect to close the gaps
to essential services faster.

"Already we have reached 15.8 million people with life-saving treatment, and increasingly,
we are able to refine our efforts and be more precise in our ability to reach people who
might otherwise be left behind."

The UNAIDS chief said he had over the weekend launched a global initiative in Libreville,
Gabon, encouraging youths to get tested for HIV and calling on young people worldwide
to join the movement and get involved in ending the AIDS epidemic.

He said that UNAIDS estimates that 17.1 million of the 36.9 million people living
with HIV worldwide do not know they have the virus.

"Getting tested is a crucial first step for people living with HIV to access life-saving antiretroviral therapy," Mr. Sidibe added.

On her part, Ms. Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said the agency was fully committed with the new
UNAIDS Strategy 2016-2021.

"The strategy places an enhanced emphasis on education and sets out a bold vision
for a world where young people, regardless of where they live, their sexual orientation
or their gender identity, have the knowledge, skills, services, rights and power to
protect themselves from HIV," she noted.

Last week, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), in its Statistical Update on Children,
Adolescents and AIDS, reported that the number of adolescent deaths from AIDS
has tripled over the last 15 years with 26 new infections occurring every hour.

At the UN General Assembly in September, world leaders endorsed the SDGs.

This new framework includes the target of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030  by
reducing new infections by an additional 75 per cent by 2020 and by ensuring that,
in the coming 5 years, 90 per cent of people living with HIV are aware of their infection
and that 90 per cent of those are on antiretroviral therapy (ART).
-0-   PANA   AA/AR   1Dec2015

01 december 2015 17:09:28




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