PGA urges UN Member States to increase the commitments to HIV/AIDS initiatives

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John Ashe, President of the 68th session of the General Assembly

As part of his efforts to promote the post 2015 sustainable development agenda, UN General Assembly President John Ashe has called on UN Member States to increase their commitment to HIV/AIDS initiatives and to reduce the onerous health costs of medication, while boosting financial flows to HIV/AIDS programmes.

In a message for World AIDS Day (Sunday 1 December), the General Assembly president said "our approach must be simple – yet ambitious – to ensure that everyone who needs HIV treatment has access to it; that everyone is educated and empowered to protect themselves from HIV infection; and that the dignity and human rights of all are respected, without stigma or discrimination". He said these steps are critical not only to get to Zero, but also to achieve sustainable, human-centered development that addresses the needs of the most vulnerable and promotes social equity and inclusion.

Dr. John Ashe called for the acceleration of efforts to meet the 2015 targets, and secure and sustain the fragile gains beyond 2015, if we are to achieve a future free of AIDS.

He noted that the United Nations General Assembly has led many of these global efforts, starting with the MDGs and the landmark 2001 Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS, as well as the 2011 Political Declaration that has set out ambitious targets to be achieved by 2015.

But he cautioned that much work still needs to be done. There are over 35 million people living with HIV. Of those, 2.1 million are adolescents. Many countries still have punitive laws that criminalize HIV transmission and impose restrictions against entry, stay or residence for people who are HIV positive.

General Assembly President John Ashe said the theme the United Nations family has adopted this year – “Getting to Zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths” – reflects the tremendous progress the international community has made in combating the spread of this disease.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’53″

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