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Blinken: AIDS continues to pose threat to global health, global health security

WASHINGTON, Dec 2 (KUNA) -- US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that HIV/AIDS "continues to pose a threat to global health and global health security." "With 650,000 people having lost their lives to AIDS-related illnesses last year, the United States government remains committed to working with our global partners to end the HIV/AIDS pandemic," Blinken said in a statement in commemoration of World AIDS Day, late on Thursday.
He indicated that data released by the US Presidentآ’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) indicates that steady progress is being made "to address the gaps that continue to put people at risk, particularly the most vulnerable populations." He noted that over the nearly 20 years since the program began, PEPFAR has saved 25 million lives.
"We will continue our commitment to sustained support of these efforts to help reach the goal of ending AIDS by 2030," he stressed.
He noted that "this yearآ’s theme for World AIDS Day is putting Ourselves to the Test: Achieving Equity to End HIV," adding, "it emphasizes accountability and action and affirms the Administrationآ’s dedication to ending HIV/AIDS, domestically and abroad." "As we approach the 20th anniversary of PEPFAR, guided by the PEPFAR five-year strategy آ… the United States government will continue to support the global HIV/AIDS response with great determination and in close collaboration with our partners, who share our commitment to saving lives and ending this pandemic," he concluded. The US Administration released on Thursday a new five-year strategy to guide PEPFAR globally. The strategy, Fulfilling Americaآ’s Promise to End the HIV/AIDS Pandemic by 2030, will focus on "enhancing collaboration and partnership to confront the challenge of fighting HIV/AIDS as a security threat in the wake of other emerging health threats," according to a White House fact sheet. The fact sheet indicated that in his FY2023 budget proposal, President Joe Biden requested USD 850 million to aggressively reduce new HIV cases by increasing access to HIV prevention and care programs and ensuring equitable access to support services. (end) si.rk