More than 3000 people came together at the United Nations in New York for the UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on AIDS in June to take stock of the progress and challenges of the last 30 years and shape the future AIDS response. The High-Level Meeting on AIDS took place 10 years after the historic 2001 United Nations Special Session on HIV/AIDS, and the 2006 signing of the Political Declaration where UN Member States committed to moving towards universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.
Countries agreed to advance efforts towards reducing sexual transmission of HIV and halving HIV infection among people who inject drugs by 2015. They also agreed to push towards eliminating new HIV infections among children in the next five years. Leaders pledged to increase the number of people on life saving treatment to 15 million and to reduce tuberculosis related deaths in people living with HIV by half in the same time period.
“This Declaration is strong, the targets are time bound and set a clear and workable roadmap, not only for the next five years, but beyond,” said Joseph Deiss, President of the United Nations General Assembly. “UN Member States have recognized that HIV is one of the most formidable challenges of our time and have demonstrated true leadership through this Declaration in their commitments to work towards a world without AIDS.”
The bold targets come at a time when international assistance for the AIDS response has dropped for the first time since 2001. Member States agreed to increase AIDS-related spending to reach between US$ 22 billion and US$ 24 billion in low- and middle-income countries by 2015.
These goals are set in the Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS: Intensifying our Efforts to eliminate HIV/AIDS adopted by the General Assembly on 10 June, 2011. The declaration notes that HIV prevention strategies inadequately focus on populations at higher risk—specifically men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs and sex workers, and calls on countries to focus their response based on epidemiological and national contexts.
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