WHO calls for bolder steps to stop spread of HIV/AIDS

News release

Manila, 17 November 2005—"Stop AIDS. Keep the promise" is the theme of this year's World AIDS Day, observed every 1 December. The theme seeks to highlight targets set to prevent HIV from spreading.

Last year, there were 3 million new infections globally, adding up to the 40 million people already living with the virus worldwide.

A number of goals has been set to stop the virus from spreading and eventually to reverse the rising trend:

  • Millennium Development Goals (MDG): To reverse the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2015.
  • United Nations General Assembly (UNGASS) Declaration of Commitment: To reduce HIV prevalence by 25% among people in the 15- to 24-year-old age bracket in the most affected countries; to reduce by 20% the number of babies infected through mother-to-child transmission; and to ensure that at least 90% of young people (aged 15-24 years) have the information, education, service and life-skills that will enable them to reduce their vulnerability to HIV infection
  • 3 by 5 Initiative: To provide access to antiretroviral treatment to 3 million people living with HIV in developing countries by the end of this year.

WHO has urged Member States to review progress made on the targets set and to speed up action to stop HIV from further spreading.

AIDS is the leading cause of death of people aged 15 to 49 years old worldwide. And, in some countries, average life expectancy has fallen by a decade because of HIV/AIDS.