“All our energy and commitment will be required to reach the goal of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the SDGs.” – Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director on World AIDS Day 2015.
World AIDS Day is celebrated around the world on December 1st each year. It has become one of the most recognized international health days and a key opportunity to raise awareness, commemorate those who have passed on, and celebrate victories, such as increased access to treatment and prevention services.
UNAIDS took the lead on campaigning for World AIDS Day from its creation until 2004. From 2004 onwards the World AIDS Campaign’s Global Steering Committee began selecting a theme for World AIDS Day in consultation with civil society, organisations and government agencies involved in the AIDS response.
Themes run for one or two years and are not just specific to World AIDS Day. Campaigning slogans such as ‘Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise’ have been used year-round to hold governments accountable for their HIV and AIDS related commitments.
The world has committed to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. This ambitious yet wholly attainable objective represents an unparalleled opportunity to change the course of history for ever—something our generation must do for the generations to come.
Today, we live in fragile communities where inequities can persist when essential services don’t reach the people in need. To change this dynamic we must quicken the pace of action. We know that strengthening local services to reach key populations will lead to healthier and more resilient societies.
The good news is that we now have what it takes to break this epidemic and keep it from rebounding—to prevent substantially more new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths and to eliminate HIV-related stigma and discrimination.
Already we have reached 15.8 million people with life-saving treatment. And increasingly we are able to refine our efforts and be more precise in our ability to reach people who might otherwise be left behind. With this attention to location and population countries are able to redistribute opportunities to improve access.
On this World AIDS Day countries are implementing the UNAIDS Fast-Track Strategy, and together with front-loaded investments we can expect to close the gaps to essential services faster. This means resources can go further to reach more people with life-changing results.
With the Sustainable Development Goals, the world has entered a new era of innovation and integration. There is a greater understanding of how the global goals are interconnected and a better appreciation for moving forward together.
Ending the AIDS epidemic means that adolescent girls and young women have access to education and appropriate HIV and sexual and reproductive health services. It means key populations, such as people who inject drugs and transgender people, have full access to health services delivered with dignity and respect. And it means that every child is born free from HIV, and that they and their mothers not only survive but thrive.
This is an exciting time in the AIDS response. We are building momentum towards a sustainable, equitable and healthy future for all.
Executive Director of UNAIDS
Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations
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“World leaders have unanimously committed to ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted in September. This commitment reflects the power of solidarity to forge, from a destructive disease, one of the most inclusive movements in modern history.”
— Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon