World will "pay much more in the future" if AIDS-funding falters

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Scene from Durban, South Africa, on the opening day of the 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016). UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

The world will "pay much more in the future" if funding for HIV and AIDS falters.

That's according to Luiz Loures, Deputy Executive Director of UNAIDS, speaking at the closing of the 21st International AIDS Conference, in Durban, South Africa.

More than 18,000 global leaders, scientists and frontline health workers have been attending the UN co-sponsored event, which aims to strengthen the global response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Matthew Wells has more.

Assistant Secretary-General Loures is tasked with leveraging critical support for countries on the front line of the continuing AIDS epidemic, to try and bring about the end of AIDS by 2030.

He said that Durban 2016 had celebrated the "phenomenal progress" made against HIV and AIDS during the last 15 years, but new challenges had to be faced, especially an increase in infections among vulnerable groups, chiefly young women.

Mr Loures added that the scientific knowledge and tools were all there to control HIV infection, but the main element "holding us back" now, were factors such as discrimination and gender inequality he said.

He added that funding levels had to be maintained otherwise the battle against AIDS could be lost.

"Of course we do need continuing financial support and let me tell you, if we don't do so, we may not pay now, but the world will be paying much more in the future."

More than 60% of people living with HIV remain without antiretroviral therapy, and uniting around the theme "Access Equity Rights Now," the conference hammered home the message that vulnerable groups could no longer be left behind.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1’01″

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