News / Health

World Community Pledges to Eradicate AIDS

The international community has agreed to a political declaration with ambitious targets intended to end AIDS-related deaths within ten years. The commitments were made at a high-level United Nations meeting charting the global AIDS response for the next decade. But some AIDS activists say the document does not go far enough.

The three-day conference brought together 3,000 people -- heads of state and government, other high-level political leaders, activists and members of civil society.

Their goal: to achieve “triple zero” within ten years. That is zero new infections of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS; reducing to zero the stigma and discrimination associated with the illness; and zero AIDS-related deaths.

Since it was discovered 30 years ago, AIDS has killed more than 25 million people worldwide. Today some 34 million people are living with the virus and 7,000 new infections occur each day.

UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director Paul De Lay detailed some of the targets in the declaration, which include more than doubling the number of people currently receiving antiretroviral treatment in low- and middle-income countries within the next four years.

“To halve sexual transmission of HIV by 2015; to reduce transmission of HIV among people who inject drugs by 50 percent by 2015; to ensure that by 2015 no children will be born with HIV; to increase universal access to antiretroviral therapy to get 15 million people onto life-saving treatment by 2015; and to reduce TB [tuberculosis] deaths in people living with HIV by 50 percent by 2015,” De Lay said.

Reaching these goals will cost money, and De Lay told reporters that U.N. member states have pledged to close the financial gap and work toward increasing AIDS funding to between $22 and $24 billion a year by 2015.

But Sharonann Lynch of Doctors without Borders notes that no country made a specific financial commitment this week.

“Governments agreed to scale up treatment to 15 million by 2015. They also agreed to pay for it, but no one brought their checkbooks. What we need to see in November at the G20 summit is exactly that. The next thing, the next signature we want to see is on a check to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria or to national HIV treatment programs, so that we can actually scale-up and meet this promise,” Lynch said.

Work negotiating the 16-page declaration began a year ago, with diplomats from Botswana and Australia acting as the facilitators.

But critics say it does not go far enough in addressing issues and groups critical to a comprehensive AIDS response. Aditi Sharma of the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition worries that despite all the talk at the conference about empowering women and girls, the final declaration has let them down.

“Despite where we are at this epidemic and knowing all that we know, and with women accounting for half the people affected by HIV/AIDS, we have had a struggle to push through a single paragraph on women that recognizes their sexual and reproductive rights, and the paragraph that we’ve got is the same one we had in 2006. Where are the concrete measures, targets, specific funding to move forward the agenda on how HIV programs will not just have specific interventions for women and girls, but also tackle some of the issues that fuel the epidemic like gender inequality and violence against women?,”  Sharma said.

Diarmaid McDonald of the British-based coalition Stop AIDS Campaign said his coalition would have liked to see language about access to affordable antiretroviral drugs needed to treat and prevent HIV and AIDS.

“Unfortunately, the current intellectual property regime makes it incredibly difficult for countries to get access to affordable generic versions of their drugs. And we hope that world leaders will support countries’ ability to override the rules which stop them from producing generic drugs so they can get the drugs that their people need,” McDonald said.

Other activists say the negotiation process was difficult because of conservative governments including Egypt, some African countries and even the Vatican, who worked to keep language out about sex education for youth, and references to risk groups such as men who have sex with men and transgender persons. In the final declaration the men made it in, but the transgendered did not.

But overall, UNAIDS’ Paul De Lay says he is pleased with the final declaration, which was adopted by acclamation in the U.N. General Assembly. He said it is not possible to have everything that they would have liked to see in it, but it is an “excellent document” that UNAIDS feels is strong and comprehensive enough to move the AIDS battle forward for the next decade.

You May Like

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid