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UN: World must share responsibility to overcome Covid-19, end AIDS

  • Published at 10:39 am December 1st, 2020
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres
File photo: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during an interview with Reuters at UN headquarters, in New York City, New York on September 14, 2020 REUTERS

HIV still infects 1.7 million people each year and kills some 690,000

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said health must be a top investment priority to achieve universal health coverage and described health a human right.

"On this World AIDS Day let us recognize that, to overcome Covid-19 and end AIDS, the world must stand in solidarity and share responsibility," he said in a message marking the World AIDS Day that falls on December 1.

With the world’s attention focused on the Covid-19 crisis, World AIDS Day is a reminder of the need to maintain focus on another global pandemic that is still with us nearly 40 years after it emerged, the UN chief said.

Despite significant successes, the AIDS emergency is not over.  

HIV still infects 1.7 million people each year and kills some 690,000.

Also read: UN: Resolve to renew commitment to Palestinian people

And inequalities mean that those who are the least able to stand up for their rights are still the most affected.

"Covid-19 has been a wake-up call to the world. Inequalities in health affect all of us. No one is safe unless we all are safe," Guterres said.

The HIV response has much to teach the fight against Covid-19.  

"We know that to end AIDS and defeat Covid-19 we must eliminate stigma and discrimination, put people at the centre and ground our responses in human rights and gender-responsive approaches," said the UN chief.  

He said wealth should not determine whether people get the health care they need.

"We need a Covid-19 vaccine and HIV treatments and care that are affordable and available to everyone, everywhere," he said.

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