New York, 9 June 2010 - Secretary-General's Statement to the General Assembly Plenary Meeting on HIV/AIDS, delivered by the Deputy Secretary-GeneralYour Excellency Mr. Vice-President [of the General Assembly],
Mr. Michel Sidibé, [Executive Director of UNAIDS],
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am delighted to join you at this morning's meeting and to deliver the following statement on behalf of Secretary-General BAN Ki-moon.
Today's plenary meeting takes place as our response to HIV and AIDS reaches a crossroads.
Since 2001, global rates of new HIV infections have decreased by 17 per cent.
More than four million people in low- and middle-income countries have gained access to antiretroviral therapy. This is a 10-fold increase in just five years.
A few years ago, tools to eliminate mother-to-child HIV transmission were just ideas. Now they are being put into practice all over the world.
We are also confronting stigma and discrimination. This can be seen in the lifting of decades-old travel restrictions against people living with HIV by several countries.
And yet we need to do much more.
The global financial crisis, the effects of conflict around the world, and the response to natural disasters are stretching limited resources.
Social and legal challenges to human rights are preventing an effective response in many countries.
Individuals most at risk of HIV infection – men who have sex with men, injecting drug users and sex workers – are pushed to the margins, instead of being constructively engaged.
“Universal access” means more than ensuring that those who need treatment or prevention services receive them. It implies an extra effort to reach those who are marginalized, criminalized or disenfranchised.
Some governments are cutting back on their response to AIDS, to give more to other development efforts that are less controversial and are perceived as lagging farther behind. This is cause for serious concern.
Such shifts in funding can have a very negative effect for all patients. Treatment and prevention programmes for HIV and AIDS are proven to affect the health of the population as a whole.
We know that efforts to improve maternal health and achieve the fifth Millennium Development Goal need a big push. What is less well-known is that HIV is one of the leading causes of death among women of reproductive age worldwide.
The global response to AIDS is therefore an essential part of our efforts to meet women's health needs.
The Millennium Development Goals are indivisible and should never be pitted against each other.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The report now before you presents a strong case for strengthening the links between the AIDS response and the other MDGs. It puts forward a set of recommendations that are ambitious, but achievable.
I hope the MDG summit in September will demonstrate greater resolve to strengthen these links
I hope we will see, in the five years until 2015, strong support for national health, education and social service systems translate into benefits for HIV-specific programmes as well. This will require more resources from national and global institutions.
The cost may be great. But the cost of inaction will be even greater.
I fully endorse the strategic approach taken by UNAIDS to focus on ten priority areas under its Outcome Framework.
I am also pleased to chair this year's replenishment process for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
We are here today on behalf of millions of men, women, girls and boys who have been given new hope by the recent advances in HIV and AIDS treatment and prevention.
They now see a future for themselves. They now have goals. Not goals set by world leaders here at the United Nations, but goals for their own lives. They want to be teachers, doctors, parents and productive members of their communities.
If we do our part, they will have hope.
We must realize their aspirations for the future – as well as our own.
Thank you for focusing on this important subject.
I wish you a successful meeting.
Statements on 9 June 2010
- Bujumbura-New York, 9 June 2010 - Statement attributable to the Spokesperson of the Secretary-General Security Council resolution on Iran
- Bujumbura, Burundi, 9 June 2010 - Secretary-General's remarks at meeting with the Burundian Battalion in AMISOM -delivered in French [scroll down for English version]
- Bujumbura, Burundi, 9 June 2010 - Secretary-General's remarks to National Actors [delivered in French - please scroll down for English version]