Proven solutions must be in place to end AIDS by 2030: Guterres

“The world has promised to end AIDS by 2030,” Secretary-General António Guterres said in his official message, but “we are moving in the wrong direction.”

“Today, we risk millions of new infections and millions of deaths,” he added, calling on governments everywhere to make the slogan “Equalization” a reality. .

He said there exist “proven practical solutions” that can help end AIDS, such as more funding to increase the availability, quality and relevance of treatment services, HIV testing and prevention.

“Better laws, policies and practices to address the stigma and exclusion faced by people living with HIV, especially those who are disadvantaged. Everyone needs to be respected and welcomed.”

He says the multi-layered inequality perpetuating the pandemic can and must be remedied: “We can end AIDS. If we balance.”

Science and Solidarity: Kőrösi

Responding to the UN chief’s call to action and his own core theme of the year, President of the General AssemblyCsaba Kőrösi, said the AIDS crisis was “ripe for science-based, united and sustainable solutions.”

“We need urgent measures to end the inequality that leaves people vulnerable to infection. If the international community acted, 3.6 million new HIV infections and 1.7 million AIDS-related deaths would be averted this decade.

He called on all Member States, and stakeholders, to renew their political and financial commitments to end AIDS before the ambitious deadline.

Maurine Murenga, UNITAID board member, representing communities living with disease

Maurine Murenga, UNITAID board member, representing communities living with disease

A long way to go, to protect the vulnerable

At the beginning of the week, HIV activists and help board member, Maureen Murenga, shared powerful personal testimony to encourage greater urgency in the fight against disease.

Referring to a recent UNAIDS report Ms. Murenga explained that adolescent girls and young women are still disproportionately affected by HIV.

“(That) is really sad because when I was diagnosed with HIV 20 years ago, I was a teenager and a young woman, and I thought that 20 years from now we will be telling a story. different than that sad story,” she said. told journalists at a briefing in Geneva ahead of International Day.

Treatment challenge

Ms. Murenga, a Kenyan national who represents communities living with HIV, faced hostility and discrimination when she was diagnosed with the virus in the early 2000s.

Through her organization, the Lean On Me Foundation, adolescent girls and young women with HIV receive care and support, but inequalities remain in global access to treatment and support. prevent.

“We are still seeing a lot of new infections,” she said. “That means treatment doesn’t reach everyone and where, people don’t adhere to treatment.”

However, progress has been made, especially in identifying infections, Ms. Murenga said, recalling the agony of waiting for a diagnosis and the fact that she had to test herself five times before she could. Accept that you have HIV.

Missing support structure

“During the time I was diagnosed with HIV, the results were delayed,” she said. “You will be tested and then you will wait two weeks for the results. It’s a very difficult time for someone to wait that long.”

According to UNAIDS, adolescent girls and young women aged 15 to 24 years are three times more likely to be infected with HIV than young men and young men in sub-Saharan Africa.

“The driving factor is strength,” the UN agency said, citing a study that found enabling girls to stay in school until they finish secondary school “reduces the risk of up to 50% of HIV infections”.

The death sentence is no more

By 2021, Unitaid notes that more than 38 million people globally are living with HIV, 1.5 million people are newly infected with HIV, and 650,000 people die from AIDS-related diseases.

Despite these staggering numbers, Ms. Murenga insists that HIV is no longer a “death sentence”. Now, “people can make a diagnosis much faster,” she notes. “We even have diagnostics like self-test kits where you can do it secretly and privately.”

Ms. Murenga noted that the past 20 years have also seen important innovations that ensure appropriate treatment regimens for young HIV patients, albeit with some caveats.

The boy is in danger

“We have no medicine for him and my son was also diagnosed with HIV. So that means I can’t take medicine to save my life and let my baby die.

“So I used to improvise and split my tablet in two and give[to]the kid. But then I don’t know if it affects his organs or not. I don’t know if the dosage is okay but I just did it to make sure he didn’t die.”

She added: “It took us a while to buy medicine for children. And even when it did, it wasn’t very kid-friendly. And just recently, we had children’s dolutegravir, which is kid-friendly but unique, so kids don’t have a lot of variety in cases of resistance.”


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