|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Secretary-General Tells General Assembly in Meeting on HIV/AIDs,
‘We Cannot Fail the People Who Need Our Help the Most’
Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the General Assembly Meeting to review progress in tackling HIV/AIDS, in New York, 6 June:
Three years ago, Heads of State agreed on a set of ambitious targets to halt and reverse the spread of HIV and AIDS by the end of 2015.
With just over 500 days to go, the international community has made great progress. Between 2011 and 2012 alone, the number of people accessing HIV treatment globally increased nearly 20 per cent. We are on track to providing antiretroviral therapy to 15 million people by 2015 and to eliminating mother-to-child transmission in just a few years.
The world is making solid headway in meeting some of the targets and commitments from the 2011 Political Declaration, such as expanding treatment access, eliminating HIV infections among children and keeping their mothers alive, and mobilizing resources.
More countries are making specific efforts to take action. Domestic spending on HIV now accounts for more than half of global HIV resources.
At the same time, the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has been strengthened. The recent replenishment of more than $12 billion over three years is a concrete demonstration of global solidarity.
I thank Michel Sidibé and UNAIDS for their leadership — along with the efforts of all those across the United Nations system and beyond — to mobilize the global response. We have the tools, the science and the knowledge to end AIDS once and for all. But we cannot let confidence turn to complacency.
Progress remains uneven. Two out of three children who need treatment do not get it. Death rates among adolescents are increasing. Epidemics in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa are getting worse. And we are far behind on targets such as reducing sexual transmission by 50 per cent and halving HIV transmission among people who inject drugs. Stigma, discrimination and criminalization of people who are the most vulnerable to HIV are also getting worse in parts of the world.
Several countries are not on track to meet any of the targets. We have the ability to harness the incredible power of HIV treatment as prevention. But this requires countries to accelerate access to early HIV testing and get people on treatment early and consistently.
Less than 40 per cent of the 28.6 million people eligible for HIV treatment are receiving it. Many countries still suffer from inadequate supply of lifesaving drugs.
We cannot fail the people who need our help the most. These include young people, who are disregarded and underserved by health systems; women and girls, who face unchecked violence and abuse; and key populations, such as sex workers, LGBTI [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex] and people who inject drugs continue to face criminalization. This not only violates human rights, but drives people away from essential services. Human rights and access to health care are for all, not just for some.
The goal of ending AIDS remains a major challenge. I encourage Member States to continue the vital debate on ensuring how this important objective is best reflected in the post-2015 development agenda.
As that work proceeds, the progress and important lessons from the global AIDS response can provide useful guidance. It has a record of breaking through political gridlock, integrating health care and mobilizing key actors from the public and private sector, civil society and the philanthropic community to help spur innovation and deliver results.
As we look ahead, we must do more to drive change. I welcome the recommendation of the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board for the General Assembly to consider a high-level meeting in 2016 to review progress, identify remaining challenges and make concrete recommendations to continue on our path to end AIDS.
With the ongoing commitment of Member States along with the work of UNAIDS and the entire United Nations system, we have the capacity to deliver a great gift to the world: ending AIDS through the shared vision of no new HIV infections, no discrimination and no AIDS-related deaths.
Let us make good on that promise. Millions of lives depend on us. Thank you for your commitment and resolve.
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