On the eve of World AIDS Day, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, Federica Mogherini, Commissioner for Health & Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica and Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, on behalf of the Commission, expressed their commitment to maintaining momentum in the global fight against HIV/AIDS and their determination to achieve the global target of ending AIDS by 2030.
“No one facing AIDS should be left behind. Worldwide, there are still 2 million people diagnosed with HIV each year, with 1.4 million of them in sub-Saharan Africa which is the region most affected by the disease. Today, a total of 36.9 million people are living with HIV/AIDS. And it is with consternation that we are witnessing the highest number of new HIV infections in 2014 in Europe. However, much progress has been made. New infections have decreased by 35% since 2000. A decrease of 42% has been recorded for AIDS-related deaths since the peak in 2004. 15.8 million people living with HIV are now accessing life-saving treatment. The world has exceeded the AIDS targets of Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 6, halting and reversing the spread of HIV, and is looking to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were adopted by the UN this year.
Confronting human rights breaches, stigma and discrimination must be part and parcel of the fight against AIDS. In this regard, the EU Action Plan on HIV/AIDS, recently extended until the end of 2016, seeks to foster concrete actions to eliminate all forms of stigma and discrimination directed at people living with HIV/AIDS.In the face of this ongoing epidemic that has already claimed too many lives, and for which there is still no cure, the Commission remains at the forefront in the fight against HIV/AIDS – through, for example:
- Funding research and innovation: via Horizon 2020 (2014-2020), the European Commission has renewed its commitment to support HIV/AIDS research. € 73 million have already been invested during the first two years of the programme. EU-funded research offers a triple win: it promotes scientific excellence in Europe, it helps to develop new or improved preventive and therapeutic tools and it enhances European competitiveness;
- Supporting the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM). By the end of 2014, the European Commission contributed €1.25 billion and pledged to increase this amount to €1.62 billion through 2016. Together, EU Member States and the European Commission, represent approximately 50 percent of the total funding provided to the Global Fund.
- Funding specific projects and joint actions with Member States and stakeholders on testing, prevention and co-infections, under the EU Health Programme – over € 15 million EUR for the period 2008-2013, with more planned for the period 2014-2020.
- Working with Member States and other stakeholders like civil society organisations to reduce the number of new infections; to improve access to prevention, treatment and care; and to improve the quality of life of people living with HIV/AIDS but also to raise awareness, for example, on the human rights implications of HIV/AIDS, and for their action on the ground.
- Cooperating with Eastern European Member States and neighbouring countries; and
- Supporting developing countries in their efforts to control HIV/AIDS and to strengthen their health systems.”
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