Saturday, June 11, 2011

UN Call To World Leaders: End Aids By 2020!

The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called for global action to end Aids by 2020! "That is our goal- zero new infections, zero stigma and zero Aids-related deaths," stated Ban at the UN Summit on Aids in New York. Ban acknowledged that in order to eradicate Aids, the world is going to have to face sensitive issues including drug users, homosexuality and the sex trade. Ban urged the global community to come together to achieve universal access to treatment by 2015 by lowering costs. Meanwhile, African leaders have called for greater access to resources to battle the pandemic.

The meeting in New York was attended by 30 presidents and heads of government. African leaders spoke of the desperate need in their countries for better funding to fight the disease. The Nigerian President stated, "to say that adequate funding is critical to the success of our HIV and Aids response is an understatement." Nigeria has the second highest number of HIV positive people after South Africa. Still, the resources available for Africa are insufficient against the enormous size of the HIV impact on the continent.

More than 9 million people are not able to access retroviral treatment and an estimated 1.8 million people die each year from Aids. That does not account for the other 34 million that are estimated by the UN to have Aids and not be aware of it. However, new infections have dropped by 20% since 2001 and infection rates are continuing to decrease. With the new technology available and a strong sense of global solidarity, it is likely the goal for 2020 can be achieved!

-Gabrielle Gurian