Former U.S. president Bill Clinton on Wednesday told delegates at the ongoing 20th edition of the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne that an end to the AIDS disease was in sight.
“The AIDS-free world that so many of you have worked to build is just over the horizon. We’re here because we know how far we still have to go.” he said.
UN targets to eliminate AIDS by 2030 include having 90 per cent of people with HIV diagnosed and on treatment by 2020, and stressed that more than 35 million people are living with HIV and AIDS, with an estimated 19 million unaware of their status.
He said that this had become imperative because the tools needed to treat AIDS and stop its transmission were available.
Clinton noted that two million people are still being infected with the AIDS virus HIV every year and millions more still needed access to treatment.
He praised Rwanda for making “remarkable progress” that included a programme to train all health workers with the assistance of international partners on his foundation in the field of HIV and AIDS in various African countries.
Clinton paid tribute to the six AIDS 2014 delegates killed in the MH17 plane crash in Ukraine while en route to Melbourne.
“It is important that we honour the service and lives of those that were lost on MH17,’’ he said.
AIDS 2014 opened on Sunday with around 14,000 researchers, activists and policymakers expected to attend the five-day event.