World AIDS Day 2013 Statements from United Nations Secretary-General, UNDP Administrator and UNAIDS Executive DirectorPublished on Sunday, 01 December 2013 16:16
On this World AIDS Day, I am more optimistic than ever. Much of the world is accelerating progress in responding to HIV. There are significant decreases in new infections and deaths, and we are making good progress in realizing our target of ensuring 15 million people have access to antiretroviral treatment by 2015.
This is crucial to halting and reversing the AIDS epidemic for good. But, as revealed in the UNAIDS World AIDS Day Report for 2013, there are still worrying signals that some regions and countries are falling behind. We are making advances in reaching vulnerable populations through efforts to eliminate stigma and discrimination, but there is still much to do to end this problem.
We must recommit to breaking the remaining barriers, including punitive laws and social exclusion, so we can reach all people who lack access to HIV treatment and services. To create conditions for an AIDS-free generation, we must also step up efforts to stop new HIV infections among children and ensure access to treatment for all mothers living with HIV.
I especially urge action to end the discrimination and violence against women which cause terrible harm and increase risk of HIV infection and death from AIDS. I commend all partners that are making significant contributions to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which is one of the most important sources of funding for the global response.
Major economies are leading by example, ensuring sustained resources for the response to AIDS and other diseases. Many low- and middle-income countries have also significantly increased domestic expenditure on AIDS responses. All deserve our full support as they explore financing options to promote long-term sustainability of the response to AIDS beyond 2015. There is still much to do.
If we want a future free of AIDS we will need continued investment, commitment and innovation to reach the vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. On this World AIDS Day, let us resolve to consign AIDS to the pages of history.
Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator
December 1st marks the 25th anniversary of World AIDS Day, when as a global community we come together to recommit ourselves to halting and reversing the spread of HIV.
There is much to celebrate: new HIV infections fell by 33 per cent between 2001 and 2012, AIDS-related deaths have dropped by thirty per cent since 2005, and life-saving antiretroviral treatment reached almost ten million people in 2012 – a forty fold increase since 2002. These hard won gains must be protected, and we cannot lose sight of the significant challenges which remain.
An estimated 2.3 million people are infected with HIV each year, and epidemics continue to grow in a number of countries and regions. Sixty per cent of young people living with HIV globally are female. In sub-Saharan Africa, HIV prevalence among young women is more than twice as high as among young men. While AIDS-related deaths have fallen globally over the last seven years, deaths among adolescents rose by fifty per cent in the same period. Punitive laws, gender-based violence, stigma, and discrimination continue to obstruct progress on addressing HIV, particularly among key at risk populations and women.
In 2012, sixty per cent of national governments reported the existence of discriminatory laws, regulations or policies which impede access to effective HIV prevention, treatment, and support services. As a co-sponsor of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS(UNAIDS) and partner of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, UNDP supports countries to respond to the development dimensions of HIV and health.
Our approach recognizes that development action – for governance, human rights, gender equality, social protection, capacity development, and environmental sustainability – contributes significantly to better HIV and health outcomes, especially for the poor and marginalized. Our work with the Global Fund has supported governments and civil society in more than forty countries to deliver large-scale HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria programmes, benefiting millions.
Last year, the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, convened by UNDP, provided important recommendations on improving legal environments to enable more effective responses to HIV. Together with UN, government, and civil society partners, UNDP is supporting implementation of these recommendations in more than eighty countries, and is already contributing to the revision of discriminatory policies and laws in a number of countries. Beginning December 1, I encourage our staff to mark World AIDS Day by standing in solidarity with all people affected by HIV.
The theme for this milestone observance is “Shared Responsibility: Strengthening Results for an AIDS-Free Generation.” Let us commit to reinvigorating our efforts to realize a world free of AIDS and the scourge of discrimination.
Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Excecutive Director
On this World AIDS Day—as we gather to remember friends and family lost to AIDS—we can also rejoice in incredible hope for the future. For the first time we can see an end to an epidemic that has wrought such staggering devastation around the world. For the first time we can say that we are beginning to control the epidemic and not that the epidemic is controlling us.
Few thought that we could achieve the progress which we are seeing today. Progress is clear in the scientific breakthroughs, visionary leadership and precision programming. The combination of these powerful factors means that people living with HIV can live long and healthy lives, can now protect their partners from becoming infected with the virus, and can keep their children free from HIV.
Determining what the end of AIDS could look like is complex. To help answer these questions UNAIDS, together with The Lancet have set up a Commission to find answers to what ending AIDS will look like.
It is certain that ending the AIDS epidemic will mean so much to so many. It will mean zero new HIV infections, zero people dying of AIDS—and all people living with dignity and without fear of discrimination.
Ending AIDS will mean celebrating birthdays instead of attending funerals. But make no mistake, stigma, denial and complacency are still among us, putting us in danger of failing the next generation. We must join our hearts and our voices––together we are stronger.
The world is poised to end AIDS and if we stay true to our vision we will remember this as the day that a lifelong of dreams began to transform into reality.