One year after start of bold new HIV/AIDS strategy, accelerating progress vital, say UN member states – World Today News

One year after adopting a new Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS: Ending Inequalities and Getting on Track to End AIDS by 2030, UN Member States have stressed the need to work together to accelerate progress in implementation.

Prior to the meeting, the UN Secretary-General released a report titled Addressing Inequalities to End the AIDS Pandemic on the implementation of the political declaration on HIV/AIDS. The report explains how inequality and insufficient investment ‘leave the world dangerously underprepared to face the pandemics of today and tomorrow’

The AIDS pandemic is responsible for more than 13,000 deaths every week.

Data from the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) shows that HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths are currently not declining fast enough to end the pandemic by 2030 as promised.

The Secretary-General’s report highlights solutions such as (a) HIV prevention and societal enablers; (b) community responses; (c) equitable access to medicines, vaccines and health technologies; (d) sustainable funding for the AIDS response and broader pandemic prevention, preparedness and response; (e) people-centered data systems; and (f) strengthening global partnerships.

The UN Secretary-General’s statement to the General Assembly, delivered by Chief of Staff Courtenay Rattray, outlined three immediate steps to reverse current trends and get back on track. “First, we must address intersecting inequalities, discrimination and the marginalization of entire communities, which are often exacerbated by punitive laws, policies and practices.” He called for policy reforms to reduce the HIV risks of marginalized communities, including sex workers, injecting drug users, prisoners, transgender people and gay men. He noted how stigma hampers public health: “Stigma hurts everyone. Social solidarity protects everyone.”

The second step is to ensure the sharing of health technologies, including long-acting antiretrovirals, to make them available to people in all countries of the world.

The third step is to increase the resources made available to fight AIDS. “Investments in the fight against AIDS are investments in global health security. They save lives — and money.”

In his opening address, the President of the General Assembly, Mr. Abdulla Shahid, noted that “equal access to health care is an essential human right to guarantee public health, for all. No one is safe until we all are. the 2025 AIDS targets are an opportunity to work together to increase investments in public health systems and responses to the pandemic, and to learn the hard-learned lessons of the HIV/AIDS crisis for our recovery after COVID-19, and vice versa.

More than 35 member and observer states made statements during the AIDS review, including contributions on behalf of the African Group, the Caribbean Community and the Central American Integration System and the European Union.

Statements highlighted the urgency of scaling up collective action to get on track to meet the 2025 goals, and the importance of an inequalities lens to ensure a successful response to HIV.

The President of the General Assembly, the Secretary General, the Africa Group, the EU and several Member States stressed the importance of fully funding the response to HIV and strengthening investments in global health.

The Africa Group, along with many others, spoke about the fight against stigma and discriminatory laws that prevent people from accessing health care and social services.

The debate made it clear that ending AIDS is possible, but only if countries work together and show courage to tackle inequalities. “The most important message today,” noted the Secretary-General’s conclusion, “is that if we work together to address the inequalities that perpetuate HIV/AIDS, we can still end it as a threat to public health by 2030”.

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