by Liang Shanggang
ADDIS ABABA, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Marking the World AIDS Day on Thursday at the African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Jean Ping, the AU Commission chairperson, said Africa should no longer see new generations with HIV infection.
Through his representative, Ping called upon individual and collective action to contain mother to child transmission of HIV.
"We should act individually and collectively not only to prevent mother to child transmission but also to take care of the health of people living with the virus," said the chairperson.
He also expressed commitment of the AU Commission to work with member states and pertinent bodies in the efforts made to HIV treatment and prevention.
The World AIDS Day is commemorated this year under the theme "Zero Mother to Child Transmission", as world leaders who were gathered in New York for the 2011 United Nations (UN) High Level Meeting on AIDS in June, launched a Global Plan for significant strides towards eliminating new HIV infection among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive.
Remarkable progress has been made so far, which is proof to realize the vision of zero new HIV infection, zero discrimination, and zero AIDS-related death (the three zeros), said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in the message on the commemoration of the World AIDS Day.
The secretary general revealed that the number of new infections has fallen by more than 20 percent since 1997, and new infections are continuing to decline in most parts of the world.
In sub-Saharan Africa, the region most affected by the AIDS epidemic, HIV incidence has decreased in 22 countries, he said.
According to UNAIDS, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe are among the African countries where new HIV infections dropped significantly.
"Treatment has averted 2.5 million AIDS-related deaths since 1985. Last year alone, 700,000 lives were saved. Some 6.6 million people, nearly half those who need treatment in low and middle- income countries, are now receiving it," said Ban.
"Synergies between prevention and treatment are speeding up progress. But, to end AIDS, we need to deliver even greater results," said the secretary general.
The UNAIDS says to get to the three zeros there must be acceleration on smart investments, capitalizing on scientific advancements and respecting human rights.
Speaking at the AU headquarters on the commemoration of AIDS Day, Jan Beagle, deputy executive director of UNAIDS, underlined on the need to invest smartly to achieve the vision of the three zeros.
There is a global target of 22 million U. S. dollars to 24 billion dollars to fund the AIDS response, which the UNAIDS says is a shared responsibility of all countries, donors and others.
"International assistance for the AIDS response has declined from 8.7 billion dollars in 2009 to 7.6 billion in 2010," said the Deputy Executive Director.
"We need to use new technology more effectively to reduce costs and demonstrate that we can deliver return on investment," she said.
The AIDS movement is a movement for inclusiveness, equity and social justice, she said, adding that it has demonstrated global solidarity is possible to address multi-sectoral challenges.
According to Abdoulie Janneh, executive secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), an estimated 7,000 people get infected with HIV infections every day.
The executive secretary highlighted ingenious and novel approaches in introducing new HIV/AIDS prevention strategies.
"A combination of the traditional initiatives and innovative initiatives can all be used to eliminate new HIV infections," said Janneh.
Special Report: World AIDS Day 2011