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UN declares deadline for HIV/AIDS

In June 2011, the United Nations agreed to a new declaration in response to the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. The new declaration builds on declarations adopted in 2001 and 2006. The goal of the UN Declaration is to achieve virtual elimination of HIV transmission by 2018.

To achieve this, the UN Declaration has set a range of broad-reaching targets to be achieved by 2015 that encompass political leadership, prevention, testing, treatment, care, support, removal of systemic barriers, gender relations, and levels of resourcing in developing and developed countries. These global targets include reducing sexual transmission of HIV by 50%; reducing HIV transmissions through injecting drug use by 50%; and eliminating mother-to-child HIV transmissions.

In response to the new declaration, the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing’s Ministerial Advisory Council on Blood-borne Viruses and Sexually Transmitted Infections, with assistance from the national peak bodies and jurisdictions, is considering the implications of the UN-set targets. These targets include the virtual elimination of HIV in injecting drug users, sex workers and through mother-to-child transmission; and a 50% reduction in HIV transmission in men who have sex with men, all by 2015. A target has also been set to increase the uptake of HIV antiretroviral treatment in low to middle-income countries by 2013. HIV at-risk and HIV-positive people and their clinicians will therefore need to engage in more open dialogue to achieve these testing and treatment targets.

For more on the UN Declaration on HIV/AIDS visit the website of the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (external site). For information on Australia’s response to the UN Declaration, read a document by HIV activist Bill Whittaker (external site) (PDF).

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