New York, US (PANA) - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday called for more political will, investments and determination to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which enters its fourth decade.
"Momentum is on our side. Let us use it to end AIDS – once and for all,” Ban said in his message for World AIDS Day, observed 1 December each year.
A copy of the message, made available to PANA in New York, quoted the secretary-general as saying that, "the progress we have made so far is proof that we can realize our vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths."
He noted that, "the number of new HIV infections has fallen by more than 20 per cent since 1997," saying: "new infections are continuing to decline in most parts of the world.
"In addition, treatment has averted 2.5 million AIDS-related deaths since 1985, saving 700,000 lives last year alone," he said, stressing: "but, to end AIDS, we need to deliver even greater results.”
Ban also added that, :we must build on the political commitments, investments, energy, activism and determination that have brought us to this turning point."
Also, Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), in his message, noted that, "it has been a year of achievements, of collective action, of resilience and of courage."
Sidibe said: "Despite the economic downturn that has stretched the AIDS response to its limits, millions of lives have been saved, as HIV treatment and prevention efforts continue to show results."
According to him, "Never before in the history of AIDS have we reached a moment where we are able to stand up and say with conviction the end of AIDS is in sight.
"The road before us is clear and we can accelerate ahead with smart investments,
capitalizing on scientific advancements and evidence and respecting human rights,” the UNAIDS chief said.
He called on countries, donors and others to reach the global investment target of US$22-24 billion for the AIDS response, adding "only together can we secure the future and provide greater and long-term dividends.''
The theme of this year’s World AIDS Day is: "Getting to Zero".
-0- PANA AA/BOS 1Dec2011