United Nations Member States committed to implementing a bold agenda to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 during the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS, held at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 8 to 10 June.  The progressive, new and actionable Political Declaration includes a set of specific, time-bound targets and actions that must be achieved by 2020 if the world is to get on the fast-track and end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals.  The High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS was convened by the President of the General Assembly and co-facilitated by Switzerland and Zambia.   At the opening, the President of the General Assembly, Mogens Lykketoft, urged Member States to commit to action.

All stakeholders must now step up to the plate. Today is the day that we collectively say that we will end the AIDS epidemic by 2030, said Mr Lykketoft. We must pay greater attention to equality and inclusion, uphold human rights and speak out against stigma and discrimination.

The meeting focused the world's attention on the importance of a fast-track approach to the AIDS response over the next five years, aimed at achieving ambitious targets by 2020, including:

  • Fewer than 500 000 people newly infected with HIV.
  • Fewer than 500 000 people dying from AIDS-related causes.
  • Elimination of HIV-related discrimination.


Ending AIDS by 2030 is an important part of the Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by UN Member States in 2015.  The lessons learned in responding to HIV will play an instrumental role in the success in achieving many of the Sustainable Development Goals, notably Sustainable Development Goal 3, good health and well-being, and the goals on gender equality and women's empowerment, reduced inequalities, global partnerships and just, peaceful and inclusive societies.

One of the main issues discussed was financial commitments to end the disease: countries need to increase overall investment in HIV prevention and treatment from $19 billion (US) in 2014 to $26 billion (US) annually by 2020.  Crucial additional investment will be needed in HIV research and development.  The increased resources will also help to build a platform to address health and social development needs beyond HIV.  Equally, the intersections and linkages across the Sustainable Development Goals provide opportunities to leverage resources that address the social drivers and determinants of HIV. 


The high-level meeting also discussed some of the gains that have been made in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the last decade.  For example, the achievement of reaching 15 million people living with HIV with antiretroviral therapy nine months before the deadline of December 2015 marked a major global victory.  The rapid scale-up in life-saving treatment has contributed to reducing AIDS-related deaths by 42 per cent since 2004 and played a major role in sharply increasing life expectancy in countries with a high HIV burden.

Substantial gains were made worldwide in reducing the number of adults newly infected with HIV in the 10 years after the turn of the millennium. Yet progress is inadequate and slowing in many places, while new infections are rising in some areas.  From 2010 to 2014, the annual number of young people and adults acquiring HIV fell by just 8 per cent. Globally, the proportion of young people with accurate and comprehensive knowledge about HIV transmission has stagnated over the past 15 years, while condom promotion and distribution remain insufficient to meet young people's needs in much of sub-Saharan Africa.  Even as new prevention tools and approaches have emerged, prevention programmes have weakened in recent years owing to such factors as inadequate leadership, weak accountability and declining funding.

Although 90 per cent of people newly infected with HIV live in just 35 countries, the HIV epidemic remains global, affecting every corner of the world and adding substantially to health burdens in many regions.  However, epidemic patterns, progress and challenges vary considerably.

The main targets for combatting HIV/AIDS in the next 15 years include:

• By 2020, reduce by 30 per cent new cases of chronic viral hepatitis B and C infections and reach 3 million people with hepatitis C virus treatment;

• By 2020, 70 per cent of countries have at least 95 per cent of pregnant women screened for syphilis; 95 per cent of pregnant women screened for HIV and 90 per cent of pregnant women living with HIV receiving effective treatment;

• By 2020, screen every woman living with HIV for cervical cancer;  

• By 2020, expand access to family planning information, services and supplies to an additional 120 million women and girls in 69 priority countries;

• By 2020, reduce the number of tuberculosis deaths among people living with HIV by 75 per cent;

• By 2025, achieve a 25 per cent relative reduction in the overall mortality from cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes or chronic respiratory diseases;

• By 2025, reach 80 per cent availability of the affordable basic technologies and essential medicines, including generic medications, required to treat major non-communicable diseases in both public and private facilities.

More information is available in the Report of the United Nations Secretary-General for the High-Level Meeting on Ending Aids (available in six UN languages).

Let's leave no one behind!