AIDS epidemic would end by 2030.
The commitment was made by United Nations Member States during their General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS in New York. The international leaders have agreed on a set of declarations, which include time-bound targets and action plans that must be attained by 2020 to finally put an end on the AIDS epidemic by 2030 within the Sustainable Developmental Goals framework.
"All stakeholders must now step up to the plate," said General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft. "Today is the day that we collectively say that we will end the AIDS epidemic by 2030." Lykketoft also called on member states to consider human rights, equality and inclusion and to use all efforts to stop discrimination and remove social stigma.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, during the opening plenary, said that the response to the AIDS epidemic has been positive, citing the number of progresses achieved in addressing AIDS and the challenges associated with it.
Executive Director Michel Sidibé said that they have hit a historic milestone — the number of people getting HIV treatment is higher than the recorded new infections. At present, there are more than 17 million individuals with access to antiretroviral therapies. There is also a notable decline in AIDS-related death and incidence of children with HIV-infection. Sidibé highlighted the importance of inclusion — opening the doors of United Nations to all.
A recent Tech Times report revealed that HIV positive patients with concurrent cancers still do not get the treatment they need.
Translating Political Declaration Into Action
More than 600 participants attended the meeting, including government officials and state heads, ministers, civil society representatives, international organization representatives, researchers and scientists and HIV positive patients. All of them participated in five official panels and 30 group sessions to turn the Political Declaration into actionable plans.
The High-Level Meeting's five official panels discussed the sustainable development and social transformation, financial support for the Political Declaration, action agenda for treatment crisis, inclusion and social justice and prevention of new HIV infections.
Attendees also discussed provisions on improving services for harm reduction and complete sexuality education for key populations, including migrants, sex workers, injectable drug users, transgender individuals, homosexuals and young girls.
Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS-Free
As a sign of their support, the United States announced the $100 million Key Populations Investment Fund. The fund is a thrust toward the country's goal of reducing discrimination and stigma for the key populations. It would also open up treatment access and ease of service delivery.
The final report on the United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) was also released. The report found that, since 2009, children with new HIV infections declined by 60 percent in 21 sub-Saharan African countries that are known to have the most cases of the infection.
To continue the progress, PEPFAR and UNAIDS and other stakeholders created a framework — Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS-Free. The said framework aims to completely prevent new HIV infections in children, make HIV treatments accessible for children with the infection and avert new infections among young women and adolescents.