Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Aids-free generation in sight Ambassador Rodney Charles tells UN

T&T's Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Rodney Charles
Trinidad and Tobago's permanent representative to the United Nations on Monday told the United Nations General Assembly the world is starting to win the fight against HIV/AIDS, noting that an Aids-free generation is in sight.

Ambassador Rodney Charles was addressing the world body as the acting President of the General Assembly with a presentation entitled "Implementation of the Declaration of Commitment of HIV/AIDS".

Charles was selected for this prestigious position on the basis of his reputation as "a prominent, visible and active Permanent Representative whose valuable interventions have been widely appreciated here at the United Nations..."   (See letter below to Charles from the President of the GA.

In his presentation, Charles noted that the world is making "unprecedented progress" in the fight against HIV/AIDS. 

He noted that the meeting comes at a critical juncture, "as the international community accelerates the push to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MPG’s), and embarks on deliberations to define a new, universal development agenda for the post-2015 era." 

He added, "The report clearly demonstrates that the world is making unprecedented progress towards the ambitious targets unanimously agreed by Member States in the 2011 Political Declaration. 

"Our momentum has rarely felt as strong as it does now: the rate of new REV infections and AIDS-related mortality has continued to decline. For the first time, there are more people living with HIV who are accessing life-saving treatment than those without it. 

"Fewer infants are born with HIV, reinforcing our push for an AIDS-free generation. And recent scientific breakthroughs give us confidence that with sustained political and financial commitment, we can one day overcome this epidemic. 

"We can truly feel proud of this progress. It has been brought about by commitment and investments in resources and effort by all stakeholders. We need to maintain this momentum. 

Charles said notwithstanding the strides made in addressing the scourge of HIV and AIDS, more challenges remain ahead. He said the AIDS pandemic is far from over. "Over 2.5 million people are newly infected with HIV, almost half of people in need of HIV treatment still do not have access," he said, adding that new HIV infections and AIDS related deaths are still rising in some parts of the globe.

He said a major concern is that key populations that are at higher risk of HIV infections are largely left behind and are often criminalised. 

"Stigma and discrimination that fuel the spread of the visrus are still rampant accross the world," he said.

Charles encouraged member states to seek the strengthen the synergies between the AIDS response and the other Millennium Development Goals.

"Working together we can do more. Let us be bold in pursuing our vision of a world with zero new HIV infections, zero AIDS related deaths and zero stigma and discrimination," Charles told the General Assembly.

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai