In a statement for World AIDS Day on Saturday December 1, 2012 United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reiterated the UN’s 1,000 day goal by 2015 to eradicate new AIDS infections, to eliminate discrimination of those with the disease, to make and AIDS-related deaths a thing of the past, calling such a goal “achievable.”
In his message Ban stated, “Zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination, and zero AIDS-related deaths by 2015 are achievable. On this World AIDS Day, let us commit to build on and amplify the encouraging successes of recent years to consign HIV/AIDS to the pages of history.”
The global fight against AIDS has been encouraging over the past decade. According to a UN fact sheet, new HIV infections have dropped by 50% or more in 25 countries since 2001. There was a global reduction in the number of newly infected individuals from 3.2 million in 2001 to 2.5 million in 2011. The numbers of AIDS-related deaths have fallen dramatically from 2.3 million in 2006 to 1.7 million in 2011.
Of particularly encouraging note is the significant increase in availability of antiretroviral therapy to those infected, a 63% increase in availability of the life-saving treatments from 2009 to 2011, with an 80% increase for those infected who live in 10 targeted low and middle-income countries.
According to the World Health Organization, in 2011 globally there were 34 million people living with HIV, with 69% of all those affected living in Sub-Saharan Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest infected rate with one in 20 adults living with the disease.
Secretary General Ban also noted the need for a stop to discrimination of those affected by HIV/AIDS. Such discrimination, he stated, is due to “outmoded laws, misguided judiciary systems and punitive policing practices, based not on science but on fear and prejudice.
“We must make information, testing and treatment available to all, so every man, woman, and child can enjoy their fundamental right to the medical care and essential services that will end this devastating epidemic,” he asserted.
The UN also noted that funding for the 2015 goal is well within reach. With $16.8 billion USD available in 2011 for AIDS funding, an increase in annual funding of only 30% is needed in order to meet the $22 billion USD to $24 billion USD that is projected as needed yearly AIDS funding by 2015.
In a White House Proclamation marking the Worlds AIDS Day 2012, U.S. President Barack Obama remarked,
“The road toward an AIDS-free generation is long -- but as we mark this important observance, let us also remember that if we move forward every day with the same passion, persistence, and drive that has brought us this far, we can reach our goal. We can beat this disease. On World AIDS Day, in memory of those no longer with us and in solidarity with all who carry on the fight, let us pledge to make that vision a reality.”