UNITED NATIONS, June 10 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations General Assembly on Friday adopted a political declaration at the end of its three-day high-level meeting on AIDS, setting ambitious new targets to end AIDS and charting a new path in the global response for the next five years.
The unanimously adopted declaration set a target of treating 15 million people with life-saving drugs and putting an end to HIV transmission from mother to child by 2015.
The new declaration expressed the "urgent need to scale up significantly our efforts towards the goal of universal access to comprehensive prevention, programs, treatment, care and support."
The declaration was adopted by the UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on AIDS, which was held 30 years after the outbreak of the AIDS epidemic and 10 years after the historic 2001 UN Special Session on HIV/AIDS, and five years after the 2006 signing of the Political Declaration where UN member states committed to moving towards universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, the world body meets at this critical point.
Other targets include halving sexual transmission of HIV by 2015; reducing transmission of HIV among people who inject drugs by 50 percent by 2015; to increase universal access to antiretroviral therapy; and to reduce tuberculosis deaths in people living with HIV by 50 percent by 2015.
The declaration committed to "seize this turning point in the HIV epidemic and through decisive, inclusive and accountable leadership to revitalize and intensify the comprehensive global HIV and AIDS response."
Over the course of the three-day high level meeting on AIDS, more than 30 heads of state, government and vice presidents together with senior officials, representatives of international organizations, civil society and HIV infected people, stressed the need for an "exceptional and comprehensive global response."
At the start of the meeting, which opened here Wednesday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hailed it as "historic," saying " this is our goal: an end to AIDS within the decade -- zero new infections, zero stigma and zero AIDS-related deaths."
"We can end the fear," Ban said. "We can stop the suffering and death it brings. We can get to an AIDS-free world."
The General Assembly recognized that HIV and AIDS is a "global emergency," singling out Africa, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, which "remains the worst affected region and that urgent and exceptional action is required at all levels to curb the devastating effects of this epidemic."
The declaration also pledged to close the global resource gap for AIDS and work towards increasing funding to between 22 billion U.S. dollars and 24 billion U.S. dollars per year by 2015.
The high-level meeting also included a series of panel sessions and events.
On Tuesday, the Security Council adopted a new resolution reaffirming its commitment to fighting the epidemic, while also seeking to protect peacekeepers and the communities that they interact with, as well as help end violence against women in conflict.
"The momentum we've experienced here again confirms the essential role of the UN in the AIDS response," Paul De Lay, the deputy executive director of the Joint UN Program on HIV/AIDS ( UNAIDS), told reporters ahead of the concluding session. "This meeting intends to bring us to the beginning of the end of AIDS."