In remarks in his World AIDS Day statement, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that new HIV infections continue to outpace efforts to treat patients, and much work must be done to achieve the goals of providing universal access to HIV treatment, prevention, and care.
"That means countering any form of HIV-related stigma and discrimination," Ban said. "It means eliminating violence against women and girls. It means ensuring access to HIV information and services."
UNAIDS says 80 nations currently criminalize homosexuality. Ban said institutionalized discrimination against those most at risk -- including sex workers, drug users, and gay men -- "only fuels the epidemic and prevents cost-effective interventions."
Ban marked World AIDS Day at a ceremony in New York's Greenwich Village, where the lights of Washington Square's Memorial Arch were turned off in memory of all those lost to AIDS, then turned on again in a show of support for the human rights of all those living with HIV.
UNAIDS reported last week that the number of annual new HIV infections had declined by 17 percent during the past eight years. However, while 4 million people worldwide are now accessing AIDS drugs, a 10-fold increase in just five years, 5 million more people need the medicines desperately but cannot get them.
Back to other news for December 2009
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.