“Universal Access is a dream that must be met and we shall not relent until the day we are all collectively able to ensure that no one living with HIV is stigmatized, young people know how to protect themselves from infection and no infant is born with the virus,” Mr. Nuha Ceesay, UNAIDS Country officer in The Gambia said.
“The commitment to Universal Access therefore established major milestone on the road toward the achievement in 2015 of the Millennium Development Goals especially the target under Goal 6 - but also the wider goal s on poverty, education, gender equality, child mortality and maternal mortality.”
Mr. Ceesay was speaking at a press briefing on April 19, 2011 ahead the High Level Meeting on Universal Access to HIV prevention, Treatment, Care and Support slated for New York, America from June 8-10 this year.
The briefing, organised by the Network of AIDS Services Organization in The Gambia is funded by UNAIDS-The Gambia. According to Mr. Ceesay, there are ongoing efforts and preparation at national, regional and global levels to draw attention to the High level meeting on Universal Access.
The meeting will bring together stakeholders in the AIDS response to take stock on progress, share experiences, identify key challenges to attaining Universal Access, renew commitments and map out clear strategies to accelerate efforts towards the attainment of Universal Access.
“The Gambia has equally registered huge success in HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, but however these gains are fragile and they must be sustained,” he argued. He said the UNAIDS committed to create space for dialogue, debate and efforts to bring issues related to universal Access alive, while calling on the media to continue on their advocacy role and awareness campaigns to the responses to AIDS.
The meeting comes at a crucial moment for the global AIDS response in that for achieving key goals and targets unanimously set by the member states in order to reverse the pandemic, including the goal to achieve universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, expired at the end of 2010.
“Symbolically, 2011 marks 30 years since the beginning of the AIDS Epidemic. The high level meeting will therefore be an opportunity to take stock of 3 decades of the response to HIV,” he said.
“Being one of the greatest leadership challenges of our time, AIDS, as per the global estimates compiled jointly by UNAIDS and WHO, in the course of a quarter of a century, HIV has infected closed to 60 million people, and killed nearly 25 million.
As at December 2009, it was estimate that 33.3 million people are living with HIV and almost half of them are women. It also estimated that nearly 7, 000 people newly infected with HIV every day,” - reports. Source - The Voice