UN endorses ‘fast track’ campaign to end HIV-AIDS epidemic

Close up of syringe on Hiv - aidsNEW YORK, United States, Tuesday, December 2, 2014, CMC – The United Nations and urban leaders have endorsed a “Fast Track” campaign to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2030.

In his message to mark World AIDS Day on Monday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said ending the epidemic by 2030 requires a “comprehensive approach that includes social justice, the democratization of science, gender equity, and a people-centred approach to health.

He spotlighted the gap in prevention and treatment that persist among regions and people.

With some 35 million people worldwide living with HIV – 19 million of whom do not even know they have the virus – “tremendous” gains made over the years in fighting the virus remain very fragile.

“The legacy of the AIDS response is already apparent as we confront Ebola in West Africa. We know that medical systems alone are not enough to provide robust health care,” said Ban as events kicked off across the globe to mark World Aids Day , launched in 1988 as the first-ever global health day.

“[These] are all lessons we have learned in the AIDS response that are being applied across the board, including in our discussions on the post-2015 development agenda,” said the UN chief, commending the commitment of world leaders to end AIDS epidemic by 2030.

Boosting that momentum, mayors from around the world came together in Paris on Monday to sign a declaration to eradicate AIDS in their cities and commit to the “Fast-Track” campaign.

In signing the Paris Declaration, the mayors vowed to abide by a set of targets to achieve the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets by 2020.

World map of travel and residence restrictions...

World map of travel and residence restrictions against people living with HIV/AIDS. blue: no specific entry and regulation targetting people with HIV/AIDS. orange: information is contradictory, restrictions are possible. red: entry and residency restrictions confirmed. gray: no information on the situation in the country. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The 90-90-90 campaign aims to get 90 per cent of people living with HIV to know their HIV status; 90 per cent of people who know their HIV-positive status on treatment; and 90 per cent of people on treatment with suppressed viral loads, keeping them healthy and reducing the risk of HIV transmission.

“We must leave no one behind,” said Ban referring to regions and people who may not have access to prevention, treatment and support services.

“Cities all over the world are key players that can fast-track the response in order to ultimately end the AIDS epidemic,” said Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris at the Declaration signing, adding that “our duty is above all a human one.”

During Monday’s event, UNAIDS released a report on HIV in cities which outlines the important role that urban areas will play in ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.
Monday’s commemoration of World AIDS Day also spotlighted the fact that worldwide two out of three children who need HIV treatment do not get it.

The UN said young women are particularly vulnerable in countries with high HIV prevalence.

The good news, however, is almost 14 million people worldwide are now accessing HIV treatment, the UN said.

It said new HIV infections have been reduced by 38 per cent since 2001. And some 1.16 million infections have been prevented among new-born babies by providing essential antiretroviral medicines.

Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)