Interview: Significant progress made in fighting against HIV/AIDS

November 30, 2010 10:52 am 

by Liu Yang, Catherine Fiankan-Bokonga

GENEVA, Nov. 30 — The world had made a significant progress in fighting against HIV/AIDS in the last ten years, said Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and Under Secretary-General of the United Nations, in an exclusive interview with Xinhua, ahead of the World AIDS Day which is due on December 1.

Accessing the current situation in HIV/AIDS control worldwide, Sidibe said: "It is the first time that we can say to the World that we are breaking the trajectory of AIDS."

"We have 56 countries, today in the World, which have been able to stabilize or significantly reduced the HIV rates", Sidibe said, referring to the figures that from 2001 to 2009, both the number of deaths caused by HIV and the number of new infections had fallen by 20 percent.

"We have been averting 500,000 new infections, critical achievement," the UNAIDS chief said.

In regional perspective, Sidibe commended the efforts and achievement made by the Sub-Sahara countries.

"Major progress is happening now in the southern part of Africa, " he said, adding that countries such as DRC and Nigeria are taking proactive stances in fighting against HIV/AIDS.

In an report issued on November 23, UNAIDS said, in the Sub- Sahara region, although adults and children living with HIV had increased from 20.3 million to 22.5 million between 2001 to 2009, AIDS-related death had fallen from 1.4 million to 1.3 million in the same period, and the newly infected cases also decreased by 0. 4 million.

"I personally feel that we manage to break the conspiracy of silence in this part of the World," the UNAIDS chief remarked. vYet he also noticed an deteriorating situation in certain parts of the world, especially in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, where AIDS-related deaths had more than quadrupled, growing from 18,000 to 76,000 in the last decade, and adult prevalence in the region (aged between 15 to 49 years old), double from 0.4 percent to 0.8 percent in the same period.

Talking about mother to child transmitting of HIV, Sidibe said, "nothing can be more worthy than saying that we have a World without babies born with HIV."

The UNAIDS chief particularly commended China for its effort in this regard. "China decided to virtually eliminate the transmission from mother to child," he said.

"I hope by 2015, the World will be free from babies born with HIV," he continued.

In regard with the role of cities in fighting against HIV/AIDS, Sidibe reveled a possible joint program with the Chinese government in the near future, "bringing all the mega cities mayors together and try to develop a plan so we can say to the world that we want to start "zero new infection" by zero infection in the city."

Cities have the technology, information among other factors needed for eliminating new HIV infections, Sidibe noted, "cities free from HIV, and it's possible," he said.

UNAIDS is the UN body for coordinating global action on fighting against HIV/AIDS. It is leading the mission of HIV transmission prevention and providing health care and support to HIV infected persons, in order to control the disease from spreading. (PNA/Xinhua)

ALM/ebp

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