Getting to ZERO
Zero new infections
Zero AIDS-related deaths
Zero stigma and discrimination
In 2000, the global community took an historic step in the United Nations Millennium Declaration by acknowledging the importance of an effective response to HIV/ AIDS and by placing it in the context of the broader development agenda. Among the many health targets that were then established in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), MDG 6 calls for unprecedented action to halt and begin to reverse the AIDS epidemic. As the United Nations Member States implicitly recognized when they endorsed the Millennium Declaration, the persistent burden associated with communicable diseases undermines efforts to reduce poverty, prevent hunger and preserve human potential in the world’s most resource-limited settings.
We are now less than two years from the deadline for the MDGs. Over the years, the gloom and disappointments chronicled in the early editions of the UNAIDS Global report on the AIDS epidemic have given way to more promising tidings, including historic declines in AIDS-related deaths and new HIV infections and the mobilisation of unprecedented financing for HIV-related activities in low- and middle-income countries. Yet AIDS remains an unfinished MDG, underscoring the need for continued and strengthened international solidarity and determination to address this most serious of contemporary health challenges.
When the Millennium Development Goals were established at the dawn of this century, a lack of critical HIV treatment and prevention tools often hindered efforts to respond effectively to the epidemic. As this latest Global report makes clear, today we have the tools we need to lay the groundwork to end the AIDS epidemic.
This report highlights continued progress towards the global vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. The annual number of new HIV infections continues to decline, with especially sharp reductions in the number of children newly infected with HIV. More people than ever are now receiving life-saving antiretroviral therapy, contributing to steady declines in the number of AIDS-related deaths and further buttressing efforts to prevent new infections.
These achievements reflect the synergistic efforts of diverse stakeholders – the leadership and commitment of national governments, the solidarity of the international community, innovation by programme implementers, the historic advances achieved by the scientific research community and the passionate engagement of civil society, most notably people living with HIV themselves. As a result of working together, many countries are now within reach of achieving several of the key targets outlined in the 2011 UN Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS, and they are thus making clear progress towards MDG 6.