UN: UN member states reiterate commitments to end AIDS epidemic by 2030

New York, US (PANA) - The 193 UN member states late on Friday in New York reiterated their commitment to implementing a bold agenda to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

PANA in New York reports that the representatives of the member states made the unanimous commitment at the end of the UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS, held from 8-19 June in New York.

The UN member states had on the first of the meetings adopted a new and actionable Political Declaration, which includes a set of specific, time-bound targets and actions that must be achieved by 2020 if the world is to get on the Fast-Track and end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The meeting was convened by the President of the General Assembly, Morgens Lykketoft, and co-facilitated by Switzerland and Zambia.

In his closing remarks, Lykketoft, urged UN member states to commit themselves to action, stating: "All stakeholders must now step up to the plate.Today is the day that we collectively say that we will end the AIDS epidemic by 2030, and we must pay greater attention to equality and inclusion, uphold human rights and speak out against stigma and discrimination."

On his part, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said that the AIDS response had been a source of innovation and inspiration and stressed the need for member states to fast-track policies and programmes that would accelerate action towards ending the AIDS epidemic.

Ban said: "The doors of the United Nations will be open to all, in order to support governments as well as ensure everyone is not left behind in the fight against the AIDS epidemic."

UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibe highlighted progress made in recent years, with 17 million people accessing anti-retroviral treatment and significant declines in AIDS-related deaths and new HIV-infections among children.

"For the first time in history we can say that in Africa there are more people initiating HIV treatment than there are new HIV infections," Sidibe said, stressing the importance of inclusion to achieve the desired results and objectives.

Among many of the civil society representatives who participated in the meeting, Loyce Maturu, a young woman living with HIV from Zimbabwe, shared her inspiring story during the opening plenary about growing up living with HIV.

She said: "I want young people living with HIV to be able to realize their dreams and hopes for the future".

Ndaba Mandela, a grandson of Nelson Mandela, spoke passionately about his own family’s experience of HIV and urged everyone present to stand together to end AIDS by 2030, saying: "I am here to ask you to continue the legacy of my grandfather, Nelson Mandela: a legacy of unity and leadership."

In addition to the plenary sessions around 600 participants, including 10 Heads of State and Government and more than 60 ministers, people living with HIV, representatives of civil society, representatives of international organizations and the private sector, scientists and researchers took part in five official panels and more than 30 side events to translate the new Political Declaration into action and results.

The participants called for access to comprehensive sexuality education and harm reduction services as well as strengthening outreach to young women and adolescent girls and key populations, including men who have sex with men, sex workers, people who inject drugs, transgender people and prisoners as well as migrants.

PANA in New York reports that the US announced the launch of a new US$100 million Key Populations Investment Fund to increase access to HIV services for sex workers, gay men and other men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, transgender people and prisoners.

The new fund will focus on reducing stigma and discrimination, empowering community leadership in the design and delivery of services and increasing the quality of data on key populations.

Also, Yusuf Hamied, Chair of the Indian pharmaceutical company CIPLA, announced a package of assistance to African countries to facilitate the local production of medicines in Africa.    

On their part, UNAIDS and the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) released a final report on the progress made since the Global Plan towards the elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive.

They reported 60 per cent decline in new HIV infections among children since 2009 in the 21 countries in sub-Saharan Africa that have been most affected by the epidemic.

To build on the enormous progress made in stopping new HIV infections among children, UNAIDS, PEPFAR and partners released a framework for ending AIDS among children, adolescents and young women, tagged: "Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS-Free."

The initiative sets ambitious targets to eliminate new infections among children, ensure access to treatment for all children living with HIV and prevent new HIV infections among adolescents and young women in order to put the world on a path to ending the AIDS epidemic among young women, adolescents and children.
-0- PANA AA/MA 11June2016

11 june 2016 07:57:05

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