With the banking crisis threatening the lives of millions of the world’s poorest people, the World AIDS Campaign today launched Keep The Promise Now! An online petition calling on leaders of the world’s richest countries to live up to their faltering commitment to fund access for all to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support by the end of this year.
The target set at the 2005 G8 summit is still far from being met. Those needing access to life saving anti retroviral drugs stands above 9 million, dwarfing the 4 million people currently in treatment. Today some 33 million people live with HIV and nearly 3 million people are newly infected each year. In 2008 more than 2 million died of AIDS related illnesses.
“Every moment the G8 promise is not kept, someone is dying a preventable death or becoming infected with HIV for lack of access to treatment and prevention services.” Chair of the South Africa based organization’s Global Steering Committee, Allyson Leacock, said.
Her comments came at a meeting in Amsterdam where leaders of key global networks advocating on HIV issues called on The World AIDS Campaign to ensure that human rights and sexual and reproductive health rights are at the heart of its agenda.
Reshma Pattni of the Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS told the group that many countries still have laws and policies that impede access to HIV services and criminalize those most vulnerable to HIV.
“Half of all people living with HIV are women and 45% of new infections are amongst youth. If we are truly committed to an effective HIV response, we need to uphold the rights of women and youth, including our sexual and reproductive rights as human rights.”
Speaking for the Global Forum on MSM and HIV, George Alaya echoed the remarks.
“Sexual health and sexuality are central to halting the HIV epidemic, putting these issues among the central values of the World AIDS Campaign will lead to the more meaningful engagement of men who have sex with men.
Further discussions focused on those most affected by the epidemic and how their needs could be better represented. Sub Saharan Africa, which is home to 12% of the world’s population accounts more than 68 % of people living with HIV and AIDS.
Marcel van Soest, Executive Director of World AIDS Campaign said that the current global economic climate makes the Keep The Promise Now! action vital. “2010 is critical to remind leaders that they can not afford to back track on HIV – promises must be kept now.”
Royston Martin Head of Media World AIDS Campaign
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