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

FIFA Indictments Put Gold Cup Tournament Under Cloud

Experts say US indictments could lead to charges of other world soccer officials, and lead to major shakeup in sport's governance More

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

At a recent even in Seoul, border communities promoted benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared stories of life since the war More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win 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.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs