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Progress on HIV/AIDS significant but insufficient

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan shared his hope with a gathering of senior world officials at Headquarters that the 2001 Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS would have heralded a response that matched the epidemic's scale, yet progress had been "significant but insufficient".

Citing achievements in the core areas of political leadership, funding, the intensity and reach of prevention programmes, and the availability of drug therapies, he said, however, that last year saw more new infections and more AIDS-related deaths than ever before. With the epidemic expanding at an accelerating rate and on every continent, treatment and prevention efforts were "nowhere near enough". For example, only 12 per cent of the people in need of antiretroviral therapies in low- and middle-income countries were receiving them.

He called for increased resources, better planning, better and more vocal leadership, and real investment in the empowerment of women and girls. Women now accounted for about half of all people living with HIV worldwide, but they were also the most courageous and creative champions in that fight. How the international community fared in the fight was crucial; only by meeting the challenge could it succeed in its efforts to build a humane, healthy and equitable world.

General Assembly President Jean Ping (Gabon) said that the HIV/AIDS threat in 2005 was much greater than when the Assembly met here four years ago. In every way, that threat had attained alarming proportions. In fact, he said, in 2004, the number of infected people had grown to about 5 million, and the number who had died had also grown, to 3.1 million in 2004, much more than for the four preceding years. The pandemic had also grown disturbingly worldwide, affecting new countries and new populations within countries, particularly women and girls, and 95 per cent of those infected were in low- and medium-income countries.

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Source:United Nations


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