UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for scaling up testing for HIV to enable more people to access treatment, increase resources needed to prevent new infections and end the stigma.
“There is still time to scale up testing for HIV,” he said in a message marking the World Aids Day that falls on December 1.
At this critical juncture, the UN chief said, all need to take the right turn now as thirty years after the first World AIDS Day, the response to HIV stands at a crossroads.
“Which way we turn may define the course of the epidemic—whether we will end AIDS by 2030, or whether future generations will carry on bearing the burden of this devastating disease,” said Guterres.
The UN chief said more than 77 million people have become infected with HIV, and more than 35 million have died of an AIDS-related illness.
“Huge progress has been made in diagnosis and treatment, and prevention efforts have avoided millions of new infections,” he said.
Guterres said yet the pace of progress is not matching global ambition. “New HIV infections are not falling rapidly enough. Some regions are lagging behind, and financial resources are insufficient.”
He said stigma and discrimination are still holding people back, especially key populations – including gay men and other men who have sex with men, sex workers, transgenders, people who inject drugs, prisoners and migrants – and young women and adolescent girls.
Moreover, one in four people living with HIV do not know that they have the virus, impeding them from making informed decisions on prevention, treatment and other care and support services.unb