World AIDS Day: Ban nudges nations on people living with AIDS

New York- US (PANA) -- The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged all countries to remove punitive laws, policies and practices against people living with AIDS.
He also asked them to remove travel restrictions against people living with the HIV virus.
Ban made the call on Tuesday in a message to mark the World AIDS Day, which falls on 1 December.
"Successful AIDS responses do not punish people, they protect them," the secretary-general said.
He, however, noted that there has been progress in "reversing the AIDS epidemic in some countries" where, he said, "investments in the AIDS response are producing results and saving lives".
"At the same time, in global terms new infections are outpacing the gains achieved in putting people on treatment," he said.
The UN chief also said that AIDS remained one of the leading causes of premature death globally.
Ban declared: â?This year our challenge is clear.
We must continue doing what works, but we must also do more, on an urgent basis, to uphold our commitment to reach universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support by 2010.
â?This goal can be achieved only if we shine the full light of human rights on HIV.
â? Ban said this meant countering any form of HIV-related stigma and discrimination , which was the elimination of violence against women and girls, as well as ensu r ing the access to HIV information and services.
â?In many countries, legal frameworks institutionalise discrimination against groups most at risk,â? Ban said, noting discrimination against sex workers, drug users and gay men only fuelled the epidemic and prevented cost-effective interventions.
â?We must ensure that AIDS responses are based on evidence, not ideology, and r each those most in need and most affected.
" Ban said people living with HIV were â?strong role models who can guide us to better approaches to prevention, health and human dignity" and urged the public to recognise their contributions and promote their active participation in all aspects of the AIDS response.
â?On this World AIDS Day, let us uphold the human rights of all people living with HIV, people at risk of infection, and children and families affected by the epidemic," he added.
The UN has designated 1 December as World AAAAIDS Day.
It is the international d ay of celebration, commemoration and remembrance for those that lost their battle to A IDS.
It is also a day for people all around the globe to renew their commitment to the AIDS response.
Each World AIDS Day has a theme with this year's is emphasising universal access to information, prevention and treatment services which goes hand-in-hand with human rights to avoid discrimination because of the epidemic.
According to the 2008 UNAIDS report on the epidemic, around half of all people who become infected with HIV do so before they are 25 and are killed by AIDS before they are 35.

01 december 2009 23:16:00

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