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UN AIDS Conference Wrapping Up Friday


Former US President Bill Clinton (l) and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during a panel meeting on HIV/AIDS at United Nations headquarters, June 9, 2011

Former US President Bill Clinton (l) and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during a panel meeting on HIV/AIDS at United Nations headquarters, June 9, 2011

A high-level conference on the global AIDS response is wrapping up at the United Nations, with world leaders agreeing to a political declaration on intensifying efforts to eliminate HIV and AIDS.

Member states are expected to sign the declaration Friday at the close of the New York conference.

Among other commitments, the document sets a goal of getting 15 million HIV-positive people on anti-retroviral drugs by 2015. That would more than double the number of people currently receiving life-saving treatment.

And on Thursday, world leaders at the conference launched a new initiative to significantly reduce the number of children born with HIV by 2015.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said developed nations have successfully eliminated mother-to-child HIV transmissions by treating women while they are pregnant. He said this proves mother-to-child transmissions can be stopped in the developing world as well.

In 2009, some 370,000 babies were born with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Nearly all of them were born in sub-Saharan Africa. The U.N. wants to reduce that number by 90 percent in the next four years.

The plan calls for increasing access to anti-retroviral drugs and other prevention services for mothers and children, integrating health care services for women and empowering women to take charge of their health and that of their children.

The United States pledged $75 million for the new initiative.

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