New Infections Leading Cause of Premature Death

While the world sees some progress in reversing the AIDS epidemic, new infections are outpacing gains in putting people on treatment, and it remains a leading cause of premature death globally.

This is the message of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for this year’s observance of World AIDS Day on Tuesday, 1 December 2009.

“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, care and support by 2010,” Ban says, as he urged nations to uphold human rights of all people living with HIV, people at risk of infection, and children and families affected by the epidemic.

Noting the increasing trend in new HIV infections in the Philippines, sustained and effective national and local responses are at the core of priority interventions. Since the first AIDS case was reported in 1984, the Philippines remains a low prevalence country with cases.

However, the recent report of the Philippine HIV and AIDS Registry shows a steep and accelerating number of reported cases. The low prevalence situation has seemingly shifted to a ‘hidden and growing’ epidemic, which calls for a multi-sectoral and broad-based approach to mitigate the negative impact of HIV and AIDS on human development in a sustained manner.

The UNDP Response. The UNDP HIV Programme supports improved human development outcomes and the goals of the country’s national AIDS response through interventions that promote decentralized leadership, strengthen capacities of local government units and NGOs working on HIV issues.

It implements targeted HIV prevention intervention among most at-risk and vulnerable groups, and enhance knowledge management initiatives.

Supported by UNDP, the Departments of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and Health (DOH) recently signed a Joint Circular formalizing their commitment to implement sustained, coordinated and multi-sectoral AIDS responses through the Regional AIDS Assistance Teams.  – PIA

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