"We must close the gaps" to end AIDS epidemic: UN chief

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (3rd right) speaks at the opening press conference of the 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016), in Durban, South Africa. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

In order to end the AIDS epidemic, the world has a responsibility to "close the gaps" that prevent people from accessing vital services, said the UN chief on Monday.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was speaking at the beginning of an International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa.

He called for an expansion of "resources, science and services" to enable all those living with HIV/AIDS to live in dignity.

Matthew Wells has more.

Mr Ban told the opening press conference in Durban, that despite the huge gains in life-saving treatment since the last global AIDS conference in the city 16 years ago, there were still 20 million who "don't get access" to treatment, while 13 million are denied the "care they deserve."

He called for Durban 2016 to "mark the commitment to a new era when we finish what we started: the era of a fast-track response."

And alongside better treatment, he said the international community had a duty to "protect and promote the rights of people living with HIV," whether they were sex workers, "gay men and other men who have sex with men", or transgender people.

Meanwhile, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), also sounded a warning that despite remarkable progress, AIDS-related deaths among adolescents aged 15-19 have "more than doubled" since 2000.

UNICEF Executive Director, Anthony Lake, said that AIDS was the second most common cause of death for those aged 10-19 globally, and number one in that category in Africa.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 57″

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