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Sierra Leone News: Fast Track approach target to reduce HIV infection to 500,000 in 2020

Michael Gboun &Dr Mary OkumuAs the World continues it’s the zero discrimination day, the fast track approach has set a time bound targets, including reducing the number of people newly infected with HIV from 2 million in 2014 to fewer than 500,000 in 2020.
At a press conference organised by UNWomen and UNAIDS marking the start of the campaign which will last for three months on the theme ‘stand out’ on Thursday, the Country Director, Michael Gboun, in his statement, said also the approach set to reduce the number of people dying from AIDS- related causes from 1.2 million in 2014 to fewer than 500,000 in 2020 and eliminating HIV related discrimination.
He said there is urgent need to increase HIV investments now or the world will be at risk of reversing the major successes that it has achieved in the last 15 years of the Millennium, adding that “$21.7 billion has been invested in the AIDS response in low and middle income countries. This investment needs to increase, year on year from 2015 up to a peak of 40% higher in 2020 to reach the Fast Track targets.”
The UNAIDS Country Director stated “we must have a clear message of urgency to Fast Track the response and call on all actors to take courageous decision to rapidly scale up and front-load global and domestic investments and leverage private sector partnership opportunities,” Michael Gboun said.
In June 2016, they will hold UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on HIV and AIDS (HLM) and this meeting will make for political commitment for the action necessary over the five years period to enable ending the epidemic by 2030.
This meeting, Gboun said, will be important for Sierra Leone “as it reaffirms the government’s commitment to secure free health care for people living with HIV and cease having HIV as a public health threat by 2020.”
The UNWomen Representative, Dr Mary Okumu said the theme for the campaign encourages everyone to stand for fair and just societies as discrimination remains widespread as the basis can be in gender, nationality, age, ethic group, sexual orientation or religion.
She stated that discrimination is not only with HIV but that they have seen as diseases such as HIV and Ebola having “marginalised people and left them even more vulnerable within societies.” She said “discrimination is a violation of human right; it is illegal, dehumanising and acts as a major barrier to development and access to HIV services.
She called on all to add the voice to end discrimination and stigma “especially against women and girls for the betterment of our future.”
Idrissa Songo of Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS (NETHIPS) said people should come on board to end discrimination as stigma and discrimination robs people of their potential to have meaningful life and they will be unable to contribute to national development.
He said how to end discrimination should be backed up with knowledge with action and “we should use this knowledge to change and eradicate discrimination. “We will continue to resist, opposed and challenge discrimination in all its forms.”
Friday March 04, 2016

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