Government leaders to intensify war on Aids

Government leaders are to meet next week to intensify the global anti-Aids campaign as this year marks 30 years since Aids was first formally identified, officials said.

The disease has killed 25 million people and continues to infect tens of millions worldwide.

The UN General Assembly will hold high-level meetings in June 2011, with more than 30 national leaders and representatives of civil society attending, to review the anti-Aids campaign.

Funding for the campaign has been declining while 7,000 people, including 1,000 children, are infected daily with HIV. The UN estimated that a total of 60 million people worldwide are living with HIV, the virus that causes Aids.

Commitment needed to fight Aids

"The commitment we are seeing for this meeting from world leaders is an extremely positive signal and is coming at a critical time," said Michel Sidibé, the executive director of UNAIDS.

"This meeting will provide a real opportunity for countries to take ownership of the response and produce a strong and visionary declaration to guide global efforts in reaching universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support by 2015."

The 192-nation assembly has called for halting the spread of Aids by 2015 and next week's meetings are to push the campaign to a new level of activities to fight Aids.

The UN held the first Special Session on Aids in 2001 and significant progress had been made to reduce new infections and Aids-related deaths. But it said those efforts have not been sustained and should be scaled up in order to reverse the spread of the disease by the target year 2015.

Annual funding for Aids prevention and treatment against Aids was estimated at 15.9 billion dollars in 2009. But the UN and organisations involved in fighting the epidemic said there was still a gap of more than 7 billion dollars in 2009 alone to cover treatment for all Aids patients.

(Sapa, June 2011)

Read more:

30 years of Aids

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