Today I join the global community in recognizing the millions of persons living with HIV and those affected by this disease. The world rejoices at the tantalizing prospects of an AIDS Free Generation that was unimaginable a generation ago. At the same time, the recently released UNAIDS 2012 Report portrays relatively optimistic trends for the Caribbean.
Yet we are cautioned by the reality that biomedical and behavioural tools still have to be brought to scale and that scarce resources and the persistence of stigma and discrimination are impediments to this dream. There is therefore need to redouble our efforts to strengthen the health systems’ response, advance treatment to prevent AIDS, embed sexual and reproductive health and rights into the human rights agenda and eliminate mother to child transmission. These require creative and collective leadership, shared responsibility in public/private partnerships, and the engagement of all stakeholders-- advocates, scientists, policy makers, celebrities, philanthropists, parliamentarians, faith leaders, media workers and youth -- as champions for change. Herein lies the hope of truly getting to Zero.
Edward Greene, UN Secretary General Special Envoy for HIV in the Caribbean