“They are at greater risk of being left behind as AIDS remains not just a health problem but a broader development challenge,” he said. Volkan Bozkir, kicking off three days High-level meeting on the continuing epidemic.
The road well traveled
While acknowledging that AIDS-related deaths have been reduced by 61 percent since the peak in 2004, Bozkir warned that underinvestment has led many countries to “fail to meet global targets set five years ago” to monitor the international response.
Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemics, conflicts and humanitarian emergencies have hampered progress as health systems are under enormous pressure and critical services and supply chains are disrupted.
And climate-induced disasters, prevalent in HIV-heavy areas, pose additional risks to the most vulnerable, triggering stigma and discrimination and further isolating those already marginalized.
“Put simply: AIDS is an epidemic of inequality”, he specified. “If we want to end AIDS by 2030, we must end inequalities.”
Girls in the crosshairs of HIV
Meeting with world leaders, decision makers, frontline workers and others, the head of the Assembly` stressed the Decade of action, saying, “if we have to deliver the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, all Member States must make a new commitment to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 ”.
Last year, women and girls accounted for half of the newly infected with HIV globally. And six out of seven new HIV infections among people aged 15 to 19 in sub-Saharan Africa were girls, she added.
“This is unacceptable,” she said, stressing that every woman must be free to exercise her human rights, make her own decisions and be treated with dignity and respect.
Calling quality education “the foundation for a society where women feel confident they are taking their rightful place in the workplace, public life, politics and decision making,” Bozkir said girls have need equal access to the classroom.
As the world stands still in galvanizing action to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, the Assembly Speaker said “now” is the time to “reject our 2030 targets and accelerate our efforts to end. AIDS by 2030 “.
He urged participants to listen to the voices of those affected, health workers and epidemiologists “who have raised the alarm” and to take “urgent action” for equal access to care to prevent the 12 million people, who now they are living with HIV, from death from AIDS-related causes
Rebirth in the balance
Warning that infection rates are not following the promised trajectory, UNAIDS Chief Winnie Byanyima said: “AIDS is not over.”
“A death from AIDS every minute is an emergency!”, He stressed, warning that amid the fallout from the COVID crisis, “we could even see a resurgent pandemic”, urging participants to clear the way for a cure and end inequalities “than to kill”.
This requires “bold changes”, including significantly better access to good medical services.
“Science moves at the speed of political will,” he recalled.
Do not give up
Ms. Byanyima called for an end to debt restructuring taxes, arguing that wealthier governments should “step forward, not step back” on health care funding for low- and middle-income states.
“Continuing to fight, the pressure of people’s power is the key to ending inequality and AIDS,” he said, arguing that justice comes mainly through the “tireless efforts” of those who insist on it.
End of “cross injustices”
Deputy Secretary General Amina J. Mohammed praised those who fight for human dignity. Recalling that crises, like pandemics, threaten to bring out the worst in people, he said that pandemics “thrive and widen the fractures and fractures of society.”
It also highlighted the need for predictable funding for preventive education and / or medical and psychological assistance.
“To end AIDS, we must end the intersecting injustices that drive new HIV infections and prevent people from accessing services,” he said.
“Stop blaming, be ashamed”
UN Messenger of Peace Charlize Theron agreed that “vulnerable and key populations” who are most likely to become HIV positive are less likely to have access to the services they need to survive, which she said, “it doesn’t happen for case …[but] by design “.
“We need to stop blaming, shaming and discriminating against people in need and start creating enabling environments that provide real help and hope,” he said pushing for “accessible prevention, treatment and support services … for the most vulnerable.”