UN chief calls for efforts to eliminate HIV stigma

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressing the General Assembly. [UN Photo/Jennifer S Altman]

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday called for efforts across society to eliminate stigma that surrounds HIV.

Secretary-General Ban addressed the UN General Assembly as it discussed implementation of the Declaration of Commitment adopted in 2001 and the Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS of 2006.

He spoke about progress in combating AIDS with more than 56 States having stabilized the epidemic and reversed the rate of new infections noting that globally, new HIV infections have declined by one fifth since 2001.

However, Secretary-General Ban said he continues to be disturbed by widespread stigma, discrimination, gender-based violence and punitive laws against people living with HIV as well as those at high risk of infection.

"I call for efforts across society to eliminate the stigma and discrimination that surround HIV. Many governments and community leaders still have laws and policies that criminalize key populations and force them underground. This is discriminatory and counterproductive. It drives people away from information, testing, treatment, care and support services. I have consistently said that human rights are universal and must be universally respected."

The UN Secretary-General recalled that this year marks the 30th anniversary of the drafting of the Denver Principles which became the Bill of Rights for people living with HIV and led to the International Patients' Bill of Rights.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1'32"

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