Asia-Pacific can help end AIDS epidemic

Shamshad Akhtar and Michel Sidibé
Original Article:

This century opened with the AIDS epidemic at its peak. Today, new HIV infections are down significantly worldwide, while access to treatment has cut the number of AIDS-related deaths by more than a third. These achievements are no accident.

In 2000, governments gave their assent to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals which addressed the greatest challenges of our time, including halting and beginning to reverse the spread of HIV. The progress we have seen since proves that strong leadership and sustained engagement can deliver results.

Still, much more remains to be done. This year, the international community will once more need to take bold action in charting a path forward on HIV. In September, as the deadline for achieving the MDGs comes to an end, governments will decide on a new set of sustainable development goals.

While higher domestic investments are needed, it is equally important to get more value for money. As ESCAP member states have recognized in past resolutions, the populations most affected by the HIV epidemic include sex workers, men who have sex with men, transgender people, and people who inject drugs.

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