Stop discrimination against HIV infected: Ban Ki-moon

New Delhi, Nov 25 (Inditop.com) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Wednesday said that new infections are fast out-pacing the gains achieved in controlling the spread of HIV, and urged all countries to stop discrimination against the HIV-infected.

“On World AIDS Day (Dec 1) this year, our challenge is clear. We must continue doing what works, but we must also do more, on an urgent basis, to uphold our commitment to reach universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support by 2010,” the secretary general said in his message.

“This goal can be achieved only if we shine the full light of human rights on HIV. That means countering any form of HIV-related stigma and discrimination. It means eliminating violence against women and girls. It means ensuring access to HIV information and services.”

He urged the countries to remove punitive laws, policies and practices that hamper the AIDS response, including travel restrictions against people with HIV.

“In many countries, legal frameworks institutionalize discrimination against groups most at risk. Yet discrimination against sex workers, drug users and men who have sex with men only fuels the epidemic and prevents cost-effective interventions.

“We must ensure that AIDS responses are based on evidence, not ideology, and reach those most in need and most affected,” he added.

He said that people living with HIV can be “powerful role models in guiding us to better approaches to prevention, health and human dignity”.

“…let us uphold the human rights of all people living with HIV, people at risk of infection, and children and families affected by the epidemic. Let us, especially at this time of economic crisis, use the AIDS response to generate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals,” Ban said.