UN General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir says AIDS is an “epidemic of inequalities”, and “if we are to end AIDS by 2030, we must end inequalities”.
In a three-day high-level meeting on the continuing epidemic with world leaders, decision-makers, frontline workers and others, the Assembly chief pointed to the Decade of Action, saying, “if we are to deliver the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, all Member States must re-commit to ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030”.
While acknowledging that AIDS-related deaths have been reduced by 61 percent since the peak in 2004, Mr. Bozkir warned that under-investment has caused many countries to ‘fall short of the global targets set out five years ago’, to fast-track the international response.
The targets have been further strained by the COVID-19 pandemic, conflict and humanitarian emergencies.
Despite the fact that the world has made ‘great strides’ since the first case of AIDS was reported, four decades ago, the President said that the ‘tragic reality’ is that the most vulnerable remain in jeopardy.
“They are at greatest risk of being left behind as AIDS remains not just a health issue, but a broader development challenge”, Bozkir said.
Last year women and girls accounted for half of those newly infected with HIV globally. And six out of every seven new HIV infections among those between the ages of 15-19 in sub-Saharan Africa, were girls, he added.
“This is unacceptable”, he stated, stressing that every female must be free to exercise her human rights, make her own decisions and be treated with dignity and respect.
Calling quality education “the foundation for a society where women feel safe to take their rightful place in the workplace, public life, politics and decision-making”, Mr. Bozkir said girls needed equal access to the classroom.
Original article published on UN News