UN: UN report says world has delivered on halting, reversing AIDS epidemic

New York US (PANA) - The world has exceeded the targets contained in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to halt and reverse the spread of HIV and is on track to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030, according to a report released on Tuesday in Addis Ababa by the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of UNAIDS, stated: "Fifteen years ago there was a conspiracy of silence. AIDS was a disease of the 'others' and treatment was for the rich and not for the poor.

"However, we proved them wrong, and today we have 15 million people on treatment, which
is 15 million success stories," he noted.

The report, entitled 'How AIDS changed everything - MDG 6: 15 years, 15 lesson of hope from
the AIDS response', was released at a community event at Zewditu Hospital in the Ethiopian
capital, by Sidibe, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Ethiopian Minister of Health
Kesetebirhan Admassu, and Abiyot Godana from the Ethiopian community of people
living with HIV.

Ban said: "The measure of success for the United Nations is not what we promise, but
what we deliver for those who need us most. When it comes to halting and
beginning to reverse the AIDS epidemic, the world has delivered."

The UN chief noted that 15 million people on HIV treatment means millions of families
protected and billions of dollars saved. It means that the world is on its way to an
AIDS-free generation.

"It also means that nearly 75 percent of all pregnant women living with HIV have
access to anti-retroviral medicines that improve the quality of their lives and protect
their children from HIV," he said.

He congratulated Ethiopia for leading the way in ensuring all children are born
HIV-free, and noted that the country has reduced new HIV infections among children
by more than 85 percent in the past 15 years.

A UN statement on the report, obtained by PANA in New York, said by 2014, UNAIDS
estimated that 85 countries had less than 50 new HIV infections among children per
year, and in 2015 Cuba became the first country to be certified by the World Health
Organization (WHO) as having eliminated new HIV infections among children.

According to the report, the AIDS targets of MDG 6 - halting and reversing the
spread of HIV have been achieved and exceeded, new HIV infections have fallen
by 35 percent and AIDS-related deaths by 41 percent, while the global response
to HIV has averted 30 million new infections and nearly 8 million AIDS-related
deaths since 2000, when the MDGs were set.

It stated: "The report demonstrates that the response to HIV has been one of the
smartest investments in global health and development, generating measurable
results for people and economies."

UNAIDS said: "It also shows that the world is on track to meet the investment
target of US$22 billion for the AIDS response by 2015 and that concerted action
over the next five years can end the AIDS epidemic by 2030."

To do so, the report called for dramatically changing the status quo in terms of
both resources and efforts, noting that, "simply put, we will not end the AIDS
epidemic by continuing business as usual. We have to urgently and rapidly
scale up our efforts over the next five years."

It also underscored that international assistance, especially for low-income
and low-middle-income countries, will be necessary in the short term before
sustainable financing can be secured in the long term. Sub-Saharan Africa
will require the largest share of global AIDS financing: US$15.8 billion in 2020.

The report is both a look back on the journey of the last 15 years and a look
forward to the future of the AIDS response and the path to ending the AIDS
epidemic by 2030.

"Knowing that one day the ribbons will be gone and the lights will be dimmed
as the world celebrates ending the AIDS epidemic, what a wonderful day that
will be," it concluded.
-0-   PANA   AA/AR  14July2015

14 july 2015 18:44:32




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