UN: UNAIDS chief calls for end to HIV/AIDS

New York, US(PANA) - The Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS),
Mr. Michel Sidibe, has urged world leaders at an international conference in Australia to end the hypocrisy on sex and make treatment and reproductive health education universally available.

In his opening remarks to the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, a copy made
available to PANA in New York on Monday, Mr. Sidibe said: "I am calling for an end to AIDS by
2030."

He also urged world leaders to "stop the hypocrisy and promote sexual and reproductive
health and rights".

The five-day conference is being held under the banner of  "Stepping up the pace" and is being held as the international community is pushing towards accelerated progress on the eight anti-poverty goals known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and laying the foundation for a sustainable development agenda that will begin after their 2015 deadline.

The UNAIDS chief said: "The post-2015 agenda should explicitly embrace human rights", noting the importance of equal access to health and HIV/AIDS treatment for people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender.

Mr. Sidibe, also spoke on Mr. Joep Lange, the former head of the International AIDS Society, who was killed in the crash of the Malaysian Airline flight over eastern Ukraine last week, describing him as a "friend and mentor", who inspired him in the global fight against HIV and AIDS.

He also said that UNAIDS organised the inaugural 'Cities for Social Transformation' meeting
where participants from cities and local leadership agreed to work towards meeting UNAIDS's
goal of ending the epidemic by 2030.

"They have the resources and the architecture to deliver essential social and health services," he said, adding that "it is time to focus on local epidemics and city governments as the driving force of change."

"They are the catalyst for forging new partnerships between communities, civil society and
government, and we will not end the AIDS epidemic without harnessing the power of cities," the UNAIDS chief added.

The participants included mayors and representatives of 18 cities, governors, senior members of parliament, health ministers, and other representatives of governments and health professionals.

In his video message for the event, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that, "tackling AIDS will help end extreme poverty, address underlying issues and advance universal healthcare."

Ban also paid tribute to the people traveling to the conference who were killed in the crash of the MH17 flight over eastern Ukraine, among the casualties was a staff member of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Mr. Glenn Thomas.

He stated: "In the epidemic's early days, affective groups and civil society refused to accept defeat. Now, let us take strength in the commitment of those who are no longer with us and carry on their work to realize a world free of AIDS by 2030."
-0- PANA AA/VAO 21July2014

21 july 2014 16:17:35




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