Written by Gregg Brekke
Thirty years into the AIDS epidemic – and 10 years since the landmark UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS – the world is coming together to review progress and chart the future course of the global AIDS response.
The 2011 UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on AIDS is being held from June 8-10 in New York City. Among event highlights is an Interfaith Prayer Breakfast, organized by the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, that will be held at the Ford Foundation June 10. The Rev. Geoffrey A. Black, UCC general minister and president, Bishop Yvette Flunder, pastor of City of Refuge UCC in San Francisco, and the Rev. Michael Schuenemeyer, the UCC's exeucitve in the office for health and wholeness advocacy, will be in attendance.
The breakfast occurs on the last day of the meeting and is intended to strengthen mutual accountability in the faith community toward achieving the goals and targets established at the UN High-Level Meeting.
Member states of the United Nations are expected to adopt a declaration that will reaffirm current commitments and commit to actions to guide and sustain the global AIDS response.
Evidence from the AIDS response has never been more compelling. New UNAIDS data clearly shows that steady progress is being made toward zero new infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths through universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.
The gains, however, have not reached everyone in need. A reported 10 million people still await HIV treatment. For every person starting treatment, two people become infected, and stigma and discrimination remain as obstacles.
Officials say that continued progress will require global solidarity and partnership, especially in times of fiscal hardship. Countries face new opportunities and challenges through issues such as innovative financing, technology transfer and the integration of AIDS and other health services.
For further details or to view the live Interfaith Prayer Breakfast webcast, please visit <unmultimedia.org/tv/webcast/c/aidsmeeting2011>.