HIV shines "harsh light" on inequalities: UNAIDS chief

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Despite the availability of tools to deal with the AIDS pandemic, close to two million people still die each year, says the head of the United Nations agency dealing with HIV and AIDS – UNAIDS.

Michel Sidibe told the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Thursday that the response to HIV and AIDS has shown what can be achieved when people stand up and demand their rights.

He said today the world is halfway to halting and reversing the HIV pandemic with countries allocating more domestic funds to HIV and donors remaining solid in their commitments.

Mr. Sidibe pointed out that the world has moved from no access to HIV treatment in 1996 to more than 8 million people on treatment as of the end of 2011.

However, he added, "HIV continues to shine a harsh light on the inequalities of this world."

"It is outrageous that in 2013, when we have all the tools to beat this epidemic, 1.7 million still die each year, because they cannot have access to treatment. Babies are still born infected in poor countries, but not in rich ones. It is still the leading cause of death among young women. We still have to fight prejudice, discrimination, exclusion and criminalization, not only in homes but in streets, hospitals, police stations and court rooms." (36")

Mr. Sidibe said the AIDS response has been and continues to be an instrument for attacking social injustice.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’31″

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