UNAIDS official calls for collective support to fight HIV

Banjul, Gambia (PANA) - UNAIDS Country officer in The Gambia, Mr. Nuha Ceesay, on Thursday called for collective support to fight HIV and AIDS.

He said universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support was a dream that must be met "and we shall not relent until the day we are all collectively able to ensure that no one living with HIV is stigmatised, young people know how to protect themselves from infection and no infant is born with the virus".

“The commitment to Universal Access established a major milestone on the road toward the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in 2015, especially the target under Goal 6 - but also the wider goals on poverty, education, gender equality, child mortality and maternal mortality,” Ceesay told a press briefing on Thursday.

Speaking ahead the high level meeting on Universal Access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support slated for New York, from 8-10 June, he told the gathering, organised by the Network of AIDS Services Organisation in The Gambia and funded by UNAIDS-The Gambia, that there were ongoing efforts and preparations at national, regional and global levels to draw attention to the high level meeting on Universal Access.

The meeting will bring together stakeholders in AIDS response to take stock on progress, share experiences, identify key challenges to attaining Universal Access, renew commitments and map out clear strategies to accelerate efforts towards the attainment of Universal Access.

“The Gambia has equally registered huge success in HIV prevention, treatment, care and support but these gains are fragile and they must be sustained,” he noted.

According to him, UNAIDS is committed to create space for dialogue, debate and efforts to bring issues related to Universal Access alive, while calling on the media to continue with their advocacy role and awareness campaigns to the responses to AIDS.

“Symbolically, 2011 marks 30 years since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. The high level meeting will therefore be an opportunity to take stock of three decades of the response to HIV,” he said.

“Being one of the greatest leadership challenges of our time, AIDS, as per the global estimates compiled jointly by UNAIDS and WHO, in the course of a quarter of a century, has infected close to 60 million people and killed nearly 25 million.

As at December 2009, it was estimated that 33.3 million people were living with HIV, almost half of them being women.

Nearly 7,000 people are newly infected with HIV every day.
-0- PANA MSS/BOS 21April2011

21 Abril 2011 17:01:41

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