World leaders set to review AIDS progress
World leaders will meet from Wednesday 8 June for a three-day UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on AIDS in New York to review progress and chart the future course of the global AIDS response.
It is 30 years into the AIDS epidemic, and 10 years since the landmark UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS.
Member States are expected to adopt a new declaration that will reaffirm current commitments and commit to actions to guide and sustain the global AIDS response.
Ahead of the meeting, the World Health Organization released new figures showing an estimated 6.6 million people in low- and middle-income countries were receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV/AIDS at the end of 2010.
Of this, an estimated 420 000–460 000 were children.
WHO said this progress represents the largest-ever annual increase in the number of people accessing HIV treatment–1.4 million more than a year ago.
"The impressive new estimates are an important milestone in the public health response to HIV that began 30 years ago," said Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. "But we have much to do to reach the goal of universal access, and doing more of the same will not get us there. We need further innovation in HIV, including simpler and more accessible prevention and treatment approaches for all those in need."
Dr Chan will speak at the UN High-Level Meeting Panel on "Innovation and New Technologies" on 9 June 2011 in New York.
According to Dr Gottfried Hirnschall, HIV Director at the World Health Organization, the WHO director general will also speak on the need for the world health body, industries and all partners to work together to still find better medicines.
“There’s a lot of antiretroviral drugs available, but still we don’t have the ideal drugs, we don’t have the ideal pills that will not produced resistance,” added Dr Hirnschall.
Meanwhile, nearly 1,000 AIDS activists from around the world will march on June 8 to demand world leaders renew their commitments to AIDS treatment and prevention.
The activists in a statement said they will be demanding the full funding to end AIDS, respect for the human rights of all people, 15 million people to be on AIDS treatment by 2015, amongst others.
In 2005, world leaders promised to support and fund universal access to AIDS treatment by 2010.
This promise, they say, would have resulted in a dramatic reduction in AIDS related death rate and HIV transmission.
But according to the activists, many leaders have since retreated from their commitment to fighting global AIDS treatment and prevention and have been slashing funding to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and their bilateral programs.
The result is that millions of people will die from AIDS while millions more will become infected.Tweet