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UN chief calls for new efforts to prevent new AIDS infections



UNITED NATIONS, Nov. World AIDS Day, to be observed on Dec AIDS Day 1.

Noting that one in four people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) do not know that they have the virus, impeding them from making informed decisions on prevention, treatment and other care and support services, the UN chief said that "there is still time to scale up testing for HIV, to enable more people to access new infections, and to end the stigma. "

Guterres said that huge progress has been made in diagnosis and treatment, and prevention efforts have avoided millions of new infections, but the pace of progress is not matching global ambition and new HIV infections are not falling rapidly enough.

Stigma and discrimination are still holding people back, especially key populations – including gay men and other men who have sex with men, sex workers, transgenders, people who inject drugs, prisoners and migrants and young women and adolescent girls, "he said.

The Secretary-general said that 30 years after the first World AIDS Day, the response to HIV now stands at a crossroads. "Which way we turn may define the course of the epidemic – whether we will end AIDS by 2030 or whether future generations will carry on bearing the burden of this devastating disease," he said.

"At this critical juncture, we need to take the right turn now," he noted.

More than 77 million people have become infected with HIV and more than 35 million have died of AIDS-related illnesses so far, according to the UN chief.

Observed on Dec. 1 every year since 1988, World AIDS Day is an international day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic and mourning those who have died of the disease. Enditem

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