In the Wake of COVID Setbacks, UN urges for Greater Effort to Combat AIDS

The United Nations General Assembly has passed a resolution asking for immediate action to eliminate AIDS by 2030, noting “with alarm” that the COVID-19 epidemic has exacerbated disparities and pushed access to AIDS drugs, treatments, and diagnostics farther off track.

The late-Tuesday declaration included targets for governments to reach 95% of people in high-risk groups with HIV preventive alternatives and 95% of those who know they have HIV with treatment.

Following objections to the text from four countries: Russia, Belarus, Nicaragua, and Syria, it was enacted with 165 votes in favour and four votes against. Russia was unsuccessful in its attempt to have words removed that it claimed urged countries to decriminalise prostitution and drug use.

Russia reminded the UN General Assembly that some articles, try to actively meddle in national legislation by removing so-called restrictive and discriminatory laws under the “cover” of combating discrimination.

Mitch Fifield, the Australian UN Ambassador who oversaw the declaration’s discussions with Namibia, rebuked Russia, saying that “reforming laws and policies to ensure that they are grounded in evidence and human rights is crucial for an effective HIV response.”

The high-level summit takes place just days after the 40th anniversary of the first report to bring AIDS to the public’s attention.

The statement pledges the assembly’s 193 member nations to put the 18-page statement into action, which includes lowering annual new HIV infections to less than 370,000 and AIDS-related deaths to less than 250,000 by 2025.

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