UN: World leaders call for accelerated action to end AIDS epidemic by 2030

New York, US (PANA) - The Governments of Kenya and Malawi, together with the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), have called for new investment and improvements in health service delivery to put the world on course to ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

PANA reported Monday that the call was made during a high-level event at the UN headquarters in New York late Sunday, on the eve of the historic 70th UN General Assembly.

Leaders from around the world gathered at the event to pledge their support and commitment to UNAIDS Fast-Track approach and to finding new and innovative ways of delivering essential health care to people most in need.

President Peter Mutharika of Malawi, who spoke at the event, said: "We believe we are on the right track but reaching the Fast-Track targets won’t be easy, so we must expand and scale up HIV services.

"Malawi is ready to see this journey through and end AIDS by 2030, and Malawi has already taken bold steps to reach its targets having recently announced that it will provide antiretroviral therapy to everyone living with HIV as of April 2016."

UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibe said: "The AIDS response to date has been the most successful response to any modern epidemic.

"There have been massive reductions in new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths over the past 15 years and more than 15 million people now have access to antiretroviral treatment.

"To take the AIDS response forward, UNAIDS has developed a Fast-Track approach to reach a set of time-bound targets by 2020. The targets include 90% of all people living with HIV knowing their HIV status, 90% of people who know their status having access to treatment and 90% of people on treatment having suppressed viral loads, keeping them healthy and reducing the risk of transmission.

"They also include reducing new HIV infections by 75%, and achieving zero discrimination."

Mr. Sidibe expressed the belief that the AIDS epidemic can be ended within the next 15 years.

Also, President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya said: "Over the last decades we have made great progress in combating AIDS but it is still unfinished business.

"We must all continue to galvanize additional resources for the AIDS response, both international and domestic. We must invest in HIV prevention, care and treatment services because there is simply no other option."

UNAIDS, in an information note said the massive scale up of services over the past 15 years has resulted in 30 million new HIV infections and 8 million deaths averted over the last 15 years.

The event also heard from Elijah Zacchary, a 12-year-old Kenyan boy living with HIV, who spoke of his hopes for the future.

He said: "Presidents, thank you for making the promise to end AIDS by 2030 but we must make sure that all children have access to treatment.

"My dream is that by the time I am 27 years old there shall be no more stigma and I am still able to take my medication every day."

At current levels, there is an annual gap of US$12 billion globally between the resources available and resources needed to reach UNAIDS 2020 Fast-Track targets and end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations, namely UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank, and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.
-0- PANA AA/SEG 28Sept2015

28 Setembro 2015 08:30:57

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