Despite notable progress in HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment worldwide, speakers today warned the General Assembly that the epidemic remains a global concern requiring greater collaboration among Member States, particularly in reaching the most vulnerable countries and populations.
Csaba Kőrösi (Hungary), President of the General Assembly, introducing the report of Secretary-General António Guterres (document A/77/877), expressed his heartfelt condolences to all whose lives have been affected or upended by the AIDS epidemic.
In some places, he noted, HIV treatment and educational material is readily and freely available but in others, it remains a serious taboo — due to persistent gender inequality, insufficient funding and fragile public health systems. He stressed that the international community failed to deliver in the early years after the outbreak because of preconceptions of how the virus spread.
Guy Ryder, Under-Secretary-General for Policy, noted that almost 29 million people across the world are receiving life-saving treatment, the global roll-out of HIV treatment averted an estimated 16.5 million AIDS-related deaths between 2001 and 2020, and in 2021, the estimated 1.5 million new HIV infections were almost one third fewer than in 2010.
In the ensuing debate, delegations pushed for greater cooperation in confronting the ongoing crisis, spotlighting its persistence in Africa, despite advances in areas including the percentage of people treated and knowledge of one’s HIV status.
The General Assembly will next meet on Wednesday, 14 June, at 10 a.m. to address the promotion of a culture of peace.