Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at Empress Zewditu Memorial Hospital to launch the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Millennium Development Goal 6 report, in Addis Ababa today:
The measure of success for the United Nations is not what we promise, but what we deliver for those who need us most. When it comes to halting and beginning to reverse the AIDS epidemic, the world has delivered. Together, we have achieved and exceeded the AIDS-related targets of Millennium Development Goal 6.
Together, we have changed the world. As this book shows, 15 years ago, precious few people were on HIV treatment in Africa and around the world. Today, 15 million people are on life-saving HIV treatment.
We have proved beyond doubt that treatment can be scaled up — no matter what the setting. Rich or poor, the right to health belongs to all. Fifteen million people on HIV treatment means millions of families protected and billions of dollars saved. And it means we are on our way to an AIDS-free generation.
This is good news for “Every woman, every child”. It means that nearly 75 per cent of all pregnant women living with HIV have access to antiretroviral medicines that improve the quality of their lives and protect their children from HIV.
Ethiopia is leading the way in ensuring all children are born HIV-free. You have reduced new HIV infections among children by more than 85 per cent in the past 15 years. I congratulate you. Other countries, such as Senegal, have seen similarly impressive results.
We have stopped and reversed the epidemic globally. None of this success would have happened without the courage of people living with HIV.
We stand in solidarity with you. Through your resilience, we have built an inclusive response — informed by evidence and grounded in human rights. Together, we have learned many lessons. Most importantly: leave no one behind.
AIDS is not over in any part of the world. There are major gaps and barriers, often facing the most vulnerable — including young women and adolescent girls, people living with HIV, gay men, transgender people, sex workers and people who inject drugs.
No one should be blocked from their right to health, respect and dignity. No one should die from AIDS.
If the Millennium Development Goals were about halting and reversing the AIDS epidemic, the sustainable development goals are about ending the epidemic by 2030.
We have delivered on the first part of our promise. Today, on behalf of the United Nations and the UNAIDS family, we are making a new promise to end AIDS by building a sustainable, equitable and healthy future for all.