Path to Ending AIDS Runs through Communities, Supporting Front-Line Leadership, Secretary-General Says in Message Marking World Day

Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for World AIDS Day, observed 1 December:

World AIDS Day arrives at a defining moment.

AIDS-related deaths have fallen by almost 70 per cent since their peak in 2004, and new HIV infections are at the lowest point since the 1980s.

But AIDS still takes a life every minute.  We can — and must — end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

Reaching this goal means heeding this year’s theme:  Let Communities Lead.  The path to ending AIDS runs through communities.  From connecting people to the treatment, services and support they need — to the grass-roots activism pushing for action so all people can realize their right to health.

Supporting those on the front lines of the battle against AIDS is how we win.  That means placing community leadership at the centre of HIV plans, programmes, budgets and monitoring efforts.  We must also remove barriers to community leadership and ensure space for local civil society groups to take forward their vital work.

Above all, we need funding.  The AIDS response in low- and middle-income countries needs over $8 billion more per year to be fully funded.  This must include scaled-up funding for local programmes led by people living with HIV and prevention initiatives led by communities.

AIDS is beatable.  Let’s finish the job by supporting communities to end this scourge in their neighbourhoods, their countries and around the world.

For information media. Not an official record.