Alarmed by the accelerating epidemic and its global impact, the United Nations General Assembly decided to convene a special session on human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) at the highest political level. Held in New York from 25 to 27 June 2001, the special session sought to intensify international activity to fight the epidemic and mobilize the resources needed.
The evidence demonstrates that we are not helpless against this epidemic, but our response is still at a fraction of what it needs to be, said Dr. Peter Piot, Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in a status report issued in June 2000. The real task now, he added, is to increase massively the political will, resources, systems and social commitment needed to turn the tide of the epidemic.
At the special session, high-level delegations discussed the action plans that had proved most effective in addressing the AIDS situation in their own countries and the next steps to be taken. Interactive round table discussions brought together government leaders, AIDS activists and experts and private-sector partners, who focused on key issues.