Wed, December 02, 2009
Lifestyle > Health > 2009 World AIDS Day

UNAIDS marks World AIDS Day with call for universal access to medicines

2009-12-01 23:53:41 GMT2009-12-02 07:53:41 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

GENEVA, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) marked World AIDS Day here Tuesday with a call for universal access to medicines.

"World AIDS Day provides an opportunity for all of us to take action towards making universal access a reality," Michel Sidibe, UNAIDS Executive Director said in a statement.

Though new HIV infections have decreased and four million people with HIV are on treatment, Sidibe said more must be done. "The violation of human rights of people living with HIV, women and girls, men who have sex with men, injecting drug users and sex workers must end," he said.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on "all countries to live up to their commitments to enact or enforce legislation outlawing discrimination against people living with HIV."

The 2009 AIDS Epidemic Update report estimated that 33.4 million people were living with HIV in 2008, with 2.7 million new HIV infections. Meanwhile, about 2 million people died of AIDS-related illnesses worldwide.

Geneva-based UNAIDS was launched in 1996 and is now working in more than 80 countries.

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