Honourable Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams, who represented the entire Dutch Kingdom as delegation leader at the United Nations (UN) Summit on HIV AIDS, says delegates adopted ambitious new targets to defeat AIDS, which has claimed more than 30 million lives when it was discovered more than 30-years ago.
The meeting brought together 3,000 participants, including 30 Heads of State and Government, along with senior policy officials, representatives of international organizations, civil society and people living with HIV last week to discuss the future of the AIDS response.
The declaration adopted by Member States of the General Assembly contains clear, measurable targets, including to halve sexual transmission of HIV by 2015, to reduce HIV transmission among people who inject drugs by 50 per cent by 2015, to ensure that by 2015 no child will be born with HIV, to increase universal access to antiretroviral therapy, to get 15 million people onto life-saving treatment by 2015, and to halve tuberculosis deaths in people living with HIV by 50 per cent by 2015.
Member States also pledged to close the global resource gap for AIDS and work towards increasing funding to between US$22 and US$24 billion per year by 2015.
The targets outlined above are expected to accelerate efforts to reduce the transmission of HIV and it also clearly outlines the urgent need to increase access to HIV services for people most at risk of infection, including men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs and sex workers. There has also been a pledge to eliminate gender inequality, gender-based abuse and violence and to empower women and girls must be fulfilled without delay.
The three-day summit also featured a number of other events on issues such as women, girls and HIV; faith-based action to prevent HIV; and AIDS and disability.
"One of the momentous actions taken was a plan to eliminate new HIV infections in children by 2015, which is intended to stop the 370,000 new HIV infections in children which are currently happening every year and to keep mothers alive.
"Overall, it was a very successful global meeting that has set out plans to further reduce the impact of HIV and AIDS on the worlds populations," Hon. Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams told the Department of Communication (DCOMM) over the weekend.
The Prime Minister was accompanied by Emilia Thomas, Policy Advisor Cabinet of the Prime Minister, Drs. Khalilah Peters, Senior Policy Officer at the Directorate Foreign Relations of the Government of Sint Maarten, and Suzette Moses-Burton, HIV/AIDS Programme Management Team Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour.