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UN chief releases report on combating HIV/AIDS

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon on Monday issued a report to the UN General Assembly that gave recommendations to the international community for combating the scourge of HIV/AIDS, including the establishment of new partnerships and a new approach for HIV investment.

"In his report he highlights the urgent need to achieve immediately tangible results and for the AIDS response to be smarter, more strategic, more efficient, and grounded in human rights," Eduardo delBuey, deputy UN spokesman, said at a daily news briefing here.

The report, titled "United to End AIDS: Achieving the Targets of the 2011 Political Declaration", is the first on the disease to be issued since the assembly held its 2011 High-Level Meeting on AIDS and explains how the international community could go about meeting the targets by a 2015 deadline.

Among the targets set by the international community at the June 2011 high-level meeting are the elimination of new HIV/AIDS infections in children, cutting sexually transmitted infections by 50 percent, and delivering antiretroviral therapy to 15 million people.

The report indicated that despite important steps forward, the international community is not yet on track to reach the set goals.

"In his recommendations, the secretary-general urges countries to undertake immediate comprehensive reviews of national, legal and policy frameworks to remove obstacles to effective and rights- based responses," said del Buey, adding "He also calls for new partnerships and a new approach for HIV investment to mobilize necessary resources."

Del Buey explained that the report lauds the "substantial gains " made over the last decade including "groundbreaking scientific advances have encouraged leaders to talk about the end of AIDS."

However, he noted, punitive laws, gender inequality, and violence against women and other human rights violations continue to undermine national AIDS responses and declines in funding have the potential to jeopardize the capacity to expand access to HIV services and sustain progress over the coming years. (Source: Xinhua. Updated: 2012-05-01)