UN Chief Sets 2015 Goal To Eradicate AIDS
On Wednesday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon challenged world leaders and state members delegates to end AIDS.
“Today we have a chance to end this epidemic once and for all,” Ban said during his opening address at the 2011 U.N. High Level Meeting on AIDS. He emphasized that new targets have to be met.
Ban said countries must share responsibility for a global plan to eradicate AIDS by 2015.
“We need all partners to come together in solidarity,” he said. “That’s the only way to reach the 2015 goal. We must commit to accountability. We must trigger a prevention effort involving the youth in order to reach the world. Every individual will get the care, treatment and support they need,” Ban said.
Ban said HIV infections are on a steep decline even in areas with a high number of cases, such as Ethiopia and South Africa. And according to UNAIDS, 33 countries have reduced the rate of new infections by at least 25 percent.
But UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé said that advocates cannot rest on their laurels.
“I know sometimes it’s difficult to just talk about the success stories, but it’s not time to be complacent,” Sidibé said.
There are 1.8 million people dying of AIDS every year in the developing world, he said, and 9 million people are still waiting for treatment. The number of babies born with HIV is falling, but 360,000 babies were born with HIV worldwide in 2009.
“We must revolutionize AIDS prevention and mobilize the youth in order to get to zero HIV, zero discrimination and zero HIV and AIDS related deaths,” Sidibé said, noting that more access to cheaper medication is needed for people living with HIV.
“Getting to zero means in five years, we should have simple and cheap medication available everywhere and the vaccine to eradicate this virus,” Sidibé said. “I believe it’s possible if we pursue this effort. AIDS is a story of a people breaking their silence and demanding dignity; refuting society’s wrong and defending their rights. It is a story expressing outrage and demanding human rights.
“We can have an AIDS-free world.