UNESCO chief calls for more efforts to achieve zero new HIV infections

2012-12-01 13:50:43 GMT2012-12-01 21:50:43(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

PARIS, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- The number of people newly infected by HIV continues to fall across the world, but more efforts are needed to bring any new infections under control, said Irina Bokova, Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Saturday.

"AIDS remains one of the world's most grave health challenges, tragically affecting families and weakening communities and societies," Bokova said in a statement on the World AIDS Day.

"The number of adults and children acquiring HIV infection in 2011 stands a full 20 percent lower than in 2001. It is encouraging that the number of people dying from AIDS-related causes in sub-Saharan Africa declined by 32 percent from 2005 to 2011, although the region still accounted for 70 percent of all people dying from AIDS in 2011," Bokova said, adding that globally 34 million people were living with HIV by the end of 2011.

But the UNESCO chief warned that 'steep challenges remain ahead," while affirming UNESCO's commitment to bringing the disease under control, by scaling up HIV programs and making the most of powerful new tools to prevent people from becoming infected and from dying from AIDS-related causes.

"We must not relent in our efforts to achieve zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS related deaths," she said, underlining that UNESCO is fully aligned with UNAIDS to "work for this 'triple zero' goal by supporting countries to improve HIV and age-appropriate sexuality education for young people."

"Progress must strengthen our determination to create a world free of AIDS. HIV and AIDS can be conquered through renewed commitment and sustained solidarity," the UNESCO secretary general concluded.

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