Battle to end HIV, COVID calls for greater international solidarity |

Battle to end HIV, COVID calls for greater international solidarity |

“I call on all stakeholders to protect the human rights of all and ensure access to health services without stigma and discrimination”. “This meeting is an opportunity to discuss how the experience of fighting against HIV/AIDS can inform and guide effective, human rights sensitive, and people-centered responses to infectious diseases, such as COVID-19”, said Mr. Shahid. “We have a responsibility to act”. Move to close equity gap

Two decades since the landmark General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS – the first ever on a health issue – HIV/AIDS has become a preventable and treatable disease. ‘Responsibility to act’

The Assembly President attested to the importance of learning from mistakes made then, such as hiding diagnoses due to social stigma, misinformation on prevention or treatment, and policymakers who delayed action. “We must reinforce international cooperation and solidarity in the fight against HIV, against COVID-19, and on any public health issue that protects our people”, he said.

And as misinformation had once plagued HIV/AIDS, today it threatens progress in combatting COVID-19. “We must resort to all available communication tools to better address health and social issues with a human rights perspective”, said Mr. Sahid. “I am convening a High-level Meeting on Universal access to vaccines on 13 January next year, as an opportunity to commit to tackle inequalities and ensure equal and fair access to treatment for all, without discrimination”, he informed the meeting. 

While human ingenuity has delivered effective vaccines for COVID-19 in record time, the Assembly President highlighted that as more variants arise, the world must move quickly to “close the gap in access and ensure vaccine equity”.  

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