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U.N. Chief: Fight against AIDS Threatened by Lack of Funds, Leadership | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Reuters

Global progress fighting AIDS could be lost because prevention programs are suffering from a lack of leadership, accountability and money, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned on Friday.

Headway in tackling the epidemic has been “inspiring,” with a 42 percent decline in AIDS-related deaths since a peak in 2004, Ban said in a report.

The progress has caused life expectancy in countries most affected by HIV to rise sharply, he added.

“The AIDS response has delivered more than results. It has delivered the aspiration and the practical foundation to end the epidemic by 2030,” Ban said.

“But if we accept the status quo unchanged, the epidemic will rebound in several low- and middle-income countries. Our tremendous investment, and the world’s most inspiring movement for the right to health, will have been in vain,” he warned.

A commitment to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 was included in the Sustainable Development Goals, an ambitious plan to end poverty and inequality which was adopted by U.N. member states in September.

Over the next four years, an estimated $26.2 billion will be needed to achieve that 2030 target, the report said.

Citing gains, it said antiretroviral therapy had been made available to 15 million people in the last 15 years.

During that time the number of people newly infected by HIV each year has dropped to 2 million from 3.1 million, according to U.N. data.

But inadequate leadership, poor accountability and declining funding have weakened HIV prevention programs in recent years, Ban said.

New HIV infections declined just 8 percent between 2010 and 2014 and continue to rise in eastern Europe, central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and the Asia-Pacific region, the report added.

Some 22 million people do not have access to treatment, it said, and around half of all people living with HIV are unaware of their HIV status.