News / Health

UN Chief Calls for End to AIDS Within 10 Years

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon addresses diplomats in the United Nations General Assembly for the 2011 high-level UN conference on the global AIDS response, at UN Headquarters in New York, June 8, 2011
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon addresses diplomats in the United Nations General Assembly for the 2011 high-level UN conference on the global AIDS response, at UN Headquarters in New York, June 8, 2011
TEXT SIZE - +
Margaret Besheer

At the start of a high-level U.N. conference on the global AIDS response, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the international community had gathered not to fight the disease, but to end it. Citing progress over the last 30 years since HIV and AIDS were first discovered, Ban said the goal now is to end the disease within the next 10 years.

It is an ambitious goal: zero new infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. The U.N. chief said it is possible, but would require bold action.

“Today’s historic meeting is a call to action," said Ban. "First, we need partners to come together in the global solidarity as never before. That is the only way to truly provide universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and care by 2015. Second, we have to lower costs and deliver better programs. Third, we must commit to accountability. Fourth, we must ensure that our HIV responses promote health, human rights, security and dignity of women and girls. Fifth, we must trigger a prevention revolution, harnessing the power of youth and new communications technology to reach the entire world.”

Ban said if the international community takes these five steps, AIDS can be stopped.

“We can end the fear," he said. "We can stop the suffering and death it brings. We can get to an AIDS-free world.”

The executive director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé, noted how far the world has come in its understanding about HIV - the virus that causes AIDS - and the illness itself. He said 30 years ago this mystery disease was seen as a gay plague and there was great fear surrounding those who were infected. He said this image is part of the history of the AIDS movement, which, he said is the story of people breaking the conspiracy of silence, demanding equality and dignity, and of confronting society’s wrongs.

Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, addresses diplomats in the United Nations General Assembly for the high-level UN conference on the global AIDS response, at UN Headquarters in New York, June 8, 2011
Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, addresses diplomats in the United Nations General Assembly for the high-level UN conference on the global AIDS response, at UN Headquarters in New York, June 8, 2011

“It is the story of people’s outrage and a passionate call for social justice," said Sidibé. "Over the past 30 years, AIDS has forged a social new compact between the global north and the south. And we mobilized unprecedented resources with your leadership and we managed to produce live-saving results for people.”

Sidibé said this has led to great achievements in the fight against AIDS. New infections are down worldwide by nearly 25 percent in the last 10 years. In Africa, where the majority of the 34 million people living with AIDS live, more people are receiving antiretroviral treatment early, when it can have the greatest live-saving impact.

Overall, Sidibé said, there are 56 countries - 36 of which are in Africa - that have stabilized the epidemic and reduced the number of new infections significantly. He pointed to great strides in South Africa, India and China.

But even as developing countries have made progress, he warned that the value of life is not the same across the world. Sidibé noted that 1.8 million people die of AIDS every year in developing countries, while in developed nations, AIDS has become a treatable, chronic disease.

He said that while there are 6.6 million people receiving treatment in low- and middle-income countries, another 9 million are still waiting for treatment. In the global north, a new generation is being born HIV-free, while each year 360,000 babies are born with HIV in the south.

Sidibé told the 30 heads of state and government and other leaders gathered at the three-day conference that this is a defining moment. He said it is time to agree on a transformational agenda to end this epidemic.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid