35mn people living with HIV worldwide: UN chief

TEHRAN, Dec. 01 (MNA) – United Nations Secretary-General’s statement on World AIDS Day shows 35mn people live with HIV worldwide.

The message issued by Ban Ki-moon on the occasion of 1 December 2014, welcomes the tremendous progress the world is making in responding to the AIDS epidemic; Mr. Ban warned that there were 35 million people living with HIV today, and that “some 19 million of them do not know they have the virus.”

“Almost 14 million people worldwide are now accessing HIV treatment. We have reduced new HIV infections by 38 per cent since 2001. We have prevented 1.16 million infections among newborn babies by providing essential antiretroviral medicines,” added Mr. Ki-moon, “we are on track to provide antiretroviral therapy to 15 million people by 2015 and to eliminate mother-to-child transmissions within the next few years. Thanks to the dedication and energy of many partners including those in civil society, we continue to tackle and remove laws that stigmatize and discriminate. Progress is accelerating,” he emphasized.

However, Mr. Ban admitted that the progress and the gains were still flimsy; “but the gains remain fragile. There are 35 million people living with HIV today, and some 19 million of them do not know they have the virus. There are important gaps in our response to key groups of people. Two out of three children who need treatment do not get it. Young women are particularly vulnerable in many countries with high HIV prevalence. The AIDS epidemic is increasing in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East, fuelled by stigma, discrimination and punitive laws. And the essential work of community systems and support organizations often lacks support. We must leave no one behind,” he said in the message.

“I am pleased and proud to see that we are moving forwards. 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 healthcare. Social justice, the democratization of science, shared responsibility for financing, human rights and gender equity, and a people-centered approach to health 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.

“On this World AIDS Day, I call on world leaders to unite in our common cause. We have started to turn the tide. We have set a bold target. Let us end AIDS together by 2030,” Mr. Ki-moon concluded his message.

By Mehr News Agency

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