The UN agreed yesterday on ambitious new goals for ending the AIDS pandemic by 2030—despite eleventh hour attempts by some delegates to water down protections for high-risk groups, The New York Times reports.
But advocates fought to preserve language protecting vulnerable groups from stigma and criminalization to support the new goal: Preventing 3.6 million new HIV-infections and 1.7 million AIDS-related deaths by 2030, according to UNAIDS.
The political declaration—the 5th of its kind in the past 20 years—sets global priorities and guides national policies.
What's in it:
- A new goal for less than 10% of countries to have measures unfairly targeting at-risk groups such as drug users, sex workers, men who have sex with men, and transgender people—policies shown to hinder success against the virus, the Times reports. These groups have 30-fold higher risk of HIV, compared with the general population.
- The General Assembly summarily rejected Russia’s bid to remove language pushing countries to decriminalize prostitution and drug use, Reuters reports.
- Also rejected: Language to relax patent protections to expand access to HIV drugs in low- and middle-income countries. Conspicuously, the US fought against relaxing patents despite its support of patent waivers for COVID-19 vaccines.
Missed targets: The previous goal was to keep new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths under 500,000 a year each by 2020. In reality, ~1.5 million people became infected with HIV, and ~690,000 died in 2020.
All told, 77.5 million people worldwide have been infected with HIV; nearly 35 million people have died from AIDS.