June 12, 2012
A UN General Assembly meeting on Monday reviewed progress made against HIV/AIDS since last year, when assembly members renewed their commitment to fight AIDS globally and set new targets for 2015. The objectives include universal access to HIV/AIDS prevention, care, treatment, and support services.
"Countries in Africa are at different stages of addressing the pandemic, with mixed results," said Josephine Ojiambo, Kenya's deputy permanent representative to the UN. "While several countries in the region have for the last 20 years registered some success in the fight against the pandemic, the situation is still grave."
"We cannot possibly begin speaking of the 'beginning of the end of AIDS' when millions upon millions cannot get essential HIV/AIDS-related interventions, new infections continue, and international funding is on the decline," said Ojiambo. "The consequence is that the world shall miss the 2015 targets by a considerable margin, thereby rendering a serious indictment on our collective commitment to fight this scourge."
However, these challenges are "surmountable," Ojiambo said, characterizing the global AIDS fight as "at a crossroad." Kenya has cut its rate of new infections and boosted awareness about HIV prevention and testing, she said. The country is still working to lower the cost of treatment and reduce disease-related stigma.
Beyond treatment, "It requires health care professionals, suitable facilities, current information, and increased funding -- all integrated within a fully functional health care system," said Ojiambo.