Ending the scourge of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in Africa and the world by 2030 would be at the heart of discussions among Heads of States, youths, representatives of civil society, and people living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) from 8th to 10th of June 2016 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
This was according to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Executive Director, Michel Sidibe.
During this meeting, the heads of State and Government will reaffirm their commitment and intensify their efforts to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030, a legacy they wish to leave for present and future generations.
The meeting comes as a new report issued by UNAIDS shows that the number of people accessing anti-retroviral medicines had more than doubled since 2010. An estimated 17 million people were accessing life-saving anti-retroviral medicines at the end of 2015, with an additional 2 million gaining access over a 12-month period.
“Over the next five years we have a fragile window of opportunity to shift gear and put the global HIV response firmly on the fast-track to end the AIDS epidemic,” said UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé. “This meeting will be critical to harnessing the momentum we have built and securing global commitment to break the epidemic for good.”
Africa, where nearly 68 percent of new HIV infections, worldwide, occurred in 2014, remains the greatest challenge. With nearly 25.6 million people living with HIV, only about 41 percent have access to treatment, and nearly 1.32 million women living with HIV do not have access to services to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV and the continent remains the most affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Issues such as the current economic crisis, new epidemics of Ebola and Zika, terrorism, weak health systems and the lack of universal health coverage are constraints that UN member States will consider in their discussions, if they are to end AIDS by 2030.