By Meleasie Goviro – EMTV News, Port Moresby
The Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, has been invited by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to lead a country delegation that will include Minister of Health, Michael Malabag, the Chair of the Parliamentary Working Group on HIV and Governor of West New Britan, Sasindran Muthuvel, and other government officials and representatives of civil society to attend the UN General Assembly High Level meeting on AIDS from June 8-10 this year.
The meeting will focus on adopting the UNAIDS Fast-Track approach.
Essentially, it aims to reduce the number of people newly infected globally with HIV from 2 million in 2014 to fewer than 500,000 in 2020; reducing 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.
In Papua New Guinea, which had over 2,500 newcases of HIV in 2015, this would mean reducing new annual infections by 90 per cent to just over 250 annually over the next 14 years.
The meeting will be convened by the President of the United Nations General Assembly, Mogens Lykketoft, and co-facilitated by Jürg Lauber, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the United Nations, and Patricia Mwaba Kasese-Bota, Permanent Representative of Zambia to the United Nations.
UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé, said “This meeting will be critical to harnessing the momentum we have built and securing global commitment to break the epidemic for good.”
Till then, people living with and affected by HIV, civil society, the private sector, governments and regional bodies will come together at a series of meetings and events to reaffirm the priorities of their response to HIV.