A new report released by the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, warns that the AIDS epidemic could be prolonged indefinitely if urgent action is not implemented within the next five years. The report, On the Fast-Track to end the AIDS epidemic, reveals that the extraordinary acceleration of progress made over the past 15 years could be lost and urges all partners to concentrate their efforts to increase and front-load investments to ensure that the global AIDS epidemic is ended as a public health threat by 2030.
“The AIDS response has delivered more than results. It has delivered the aspiration and the practical foundation to end the epidemic by 2030,” said Mr Ban in the report. “But if we accept the status quo unchanged, the epidemic will rebound in several low- and middle-income countries. Our tremendous investment, and the world’s most inspiring movement for the right to health, will have been in vain.”
The review of progress looks at the gains made, particularly since the 2011 United Nations Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS, which accelerated action by uniting the world around a set of ambitious targets for 2015. “The progress made has been inspiring,” said Mr Ban in the report. “Reaching 15 million people with antiretroviral therapy nine months before the December 2015 deadline is a major global victory.” The report outlines that the rapid treatment scale-up has been a major contributing factor to the 42% decline in AIDS-related deaths since the peak in 2004 and notes that this has caused life expectancy in the countries most affected by HIV to rise sharply in recent years.
The report underlines the critical role civil society has played in securing many of the gains made and the leadership provided by people living with HIV. Community efforts have been key to removing many of the obstacles faced in scaling up the AIDS response, including reaching people at risk of HIV infection with HIV services, helping people to adhere to treatment and reinforcing other essential health services.
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