UN officials say they are concerned that the successes in fighting HIV / AIDS are uneven and that the most vulnerable are the most at risk. You say the new goals are urgently needed. Photo credit: Kristin Palitza / IPSUNITED NATIONS, June 09 (IPS) – World leaders, those on the front lines of fighting AIDS, civil society, academics and youth all agree that there is no way AIDS is a threat end public health by 2030 without addressing persistent inequalities between marginalized groups.
The heads of state and government adopted new targets on Tuesday to end the epidemic. The so-called Global AIDS Strategy 2021-2026 builds on the 2016 Political Declaration to End AIDS, with more ambitious plans to address issues such as discrimination and criminalization of same-sex relationships.
“The inequalities blocking progress in ending AIDS emerge when HIV crosses complex fault lines in social, economic, legal and health systems,” the agreement reads.
It includes commitments to reduce the annual number of new HIV infections to below 370,000 and the number of AIDS deaths to 250,000 while eliminating new infections in children.
It sets the target by 2025 to end all forms of HIV-related discrimination and to provide 34 million people with life-saving HIV treatment.
UN officials say there has been significant progress in understanding and responding to the disease since the first confirmed case of HIV in 1981. These include a 61 percent decrease in AIDS-related deaths from a peak in 2004 and “dozens of countries” that have met or exceeded the targets set in the 2016 Declaration for an accelerated AIDS response.
However, they are concerned that achievements are uneven and the weakest are most at risk. You say the new goals are urgently needed.
“The COVID-19 pandemic, conflict and humanitarian emergencies have hampered progress as health systems are under tremendous strain and critical services and supply chains are disrupted,” said Volkan Bozkir, president of the 75th. “Tragically, stigma and discrimination persist and isolate them already marginalized continue. ”
Bozkir told the Hybrid event that while all forms of inequality need to be eliminated, HIV statistics among young women are a compelling argument for prioritizing gender inequality.
According to UNAIDS, young women are twice as likely to live with HIV as young men. In 2020, 6 out of 7 new HIV infections among young people between the ages of 15 and 19 in sub-Saharan Africa were girls.
“Every girl and woman must have the freedom to exercise their basic human rights, to make their own decisions, to live a life without fear of gender-based violence and to be treated with dignity and respect. All girls should have equal access to quality education. This is the basis for a society in which women feel safe and secure in their rightful place in the workplace, in public life, in politics and in decision-making, ”he said.
Yana Panfilova, a 23-year-old Ukrainian born with HIV, appealed to world leaders to help the millions of people living with HIV who struggle with fear and isolation on a daily basis.
“Millions of people with HIV may have HIV pills, but they live in a world where their families and societies do not accept them for who they are. I am here today as the voice of 38 million people living with HIV. For some of us pills keep us alive, but we are dying from the pandemics of stigma and discrimination, ”she said.
“The AIDS response still leaves millions behind. LGBTIQ people, sex workers, drug users, migrants and prisoners, teenagers, young people, women and children who also deserve a normal life, with the same rights and the same dignity as most of the people in this room. ”
UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima stated that HIV rates are not following the course outlined in the 2016 agreement, warning that a new AIDS pandemic may emerge as part of the effects of the COVID-19 crisis.
“The evidence and analysis are clear. Inequalities in power, status, rights and voice are the engine of the HIV pandemic. Kill inequalities. As the Global AIDS Strategy states: To end AIDS, we must remove the inequalities that perpetuate it, ”said Byanyima.
The UNAIDS chief said the world should applaud the new measures taken to fight the AIDS epidemic, adding that the measures and services needed to end AIDS will prove useful in defeating COVID-19 and keeping the world on future Prepare for pandemics.
“We cannot be neutral when it comes to inequalities. In order to get back on the right path to ending AIDS, we have to face them consciously. The only alternative is a vicious circle of injustice, disease and need. The most unrealistic thing we can do now is to imagine that we could overcome our crises with small adjustments or tinkering. ”
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