Investment in antiHIVAIDS services paying off but sustained effort needed – UN

Growing access to HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention services resulted in a 15 per cent decline in new infections over the past decade and a 22 per cent drop in AIDS-related deaths in the past five years, the United Nations reported today, urging sustained long-term effort to combat the disease.“It has taken the world 10 years to achieve this level of momentum,” said Gottfried Hirnschall, the Director of WHO’s HIV/AIDS Department, releasing a report produced in conjunction with UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) on the global response to the pandemic.“There is now a very real possibility of getting ahead of the epidemic. But this can only be achieved by both sustaining and accelerating this momentum over the next decade and beyond,” said Mr. Hirnschall.Advances in HIV science and programme innovations over the past year have raise hope for further progress in the future, according to the report, released ahead of the World AIDS Day, which is marked on 1 December every year.It is crucial that new science, technologies and approaches be applied to improve the efficacy of HIV programmes especially during the current global economic uncertainty and related austerity measures, according to the report.Some of the successes include improved access to HIV testing services, according to the report, highlighting, for example, that 61 per cent of pregnant women in Eastern and Southern Africa now receive testing and counselling for HIV, up from 14 per cent in 2005. An estimated 48 per cent of pregnant women in need of effective medicines to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV received them last year.Antiretroviral therapies (ART), which improve the health and well-being of those infected and stop further HIV transmission, are available now for 6.65 million people in low- and middle-income countries, which account for 47 per cent of the 14.2 million people eligible to receive them.The report acknowledges that investment in HIV services could lead to total gains of up to $34 billion by 2020 in increased economic activity and productivity, more than offsetting the costs of ART programmes, pointing out that healthier people are better able to engage in financially gainful activities.Despite the progress, more than half of all infected people in need of antiretroviral therapies in low- and middle-income countries are still unable to access them. Many do not even know that they are infected.Some countries are still not tailoring their programmes meet the needs of those most at risk or in need. In many cases, vulnerable groups – including adolescent girls, people who inject drugs, men who have sex with men, transgender people, sex workers, prisoners and migrants – remain unable to access HIV prevention and treatment services, the report notes.Paul De Lay, Deputy Executive Director of UNAIDS, cautioned that funding shortfalls could undermine efforts to roll back the disease.“To reach these targets, we estimate we need between $22 and 24 billion per year by the year 2015,” he told UN Radio.“Today we are falling short by seven billion. Now, more than ever, ending AIDS requires a unified approach of governments, multilateral agencies, NGOs [non-governmental organizations], foundations, the private sector and individuals.”Children have not benefited as much as adults from treatment, care and support, according to Leila Pakkala, Director of the UNICEF office in Geneva.“The coverage of HIV interventions for children remains alarmingly low. Through concerted action and equity-focused strategies, we must make sure that global efforts are working for children as well as adults,” said Ms. Pakkala. 30 November 2011Growing access to HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention services resulted in a 15 per cent decline in new infections over the past decade and a 22 per cent drop in AIDS-related deaths in the past five years, the United Nations reported today, urging sustained long-term effort to combat the disease. read more

Wigneswaran rallies for support at Saturdays protest

Defying a Tamil National Alliance (TNA) stand, Northern Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran called on Tamils in the North to support a mass rally set to take place on Saturday.The protest is against what some claim is the systematic settlement of Sinhalese people in the Tamil dominated region and the erection of Buddhist statues in an area devoid of Buddhist devotees. The Tamil People’s Council (TPC) led by Wigneswaran is leading the demonstration, which has also garnered the support of some constituent members of the TNA and the Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF) led by Gajen Ponnambalam. “Tamil speaking brothers and sisters, I urge you to participate in the demonstration,” a letter by Chief Minister Wigneswaran said. “Even though promises have been made about sharing power with the Northern and Eastern Provinces, not a single Government has delivered on this promise. This demonstration is being held to pressure the Government to release private citizens’ land held by the military, the release of political prisoners and finding the disappeared,” Wigneswaran’s letter said.According to the Tamil People’s Council, the Government has systematically settled some 10,000 Sinhalese families in Vavuniya, Jaffna and Mullaitivu where such settlements had not existed before. (Colombo Gazette) read more

Alberta Federation of Labour remembers workers killed in farm accidents

Related Stories “Alberta Bound” singer Paul Brandt chimes in on Bill 6 debateMixed feelings continue towards Bill 6Alberta premier posts letter on Facebook to address farm bill protests Alberta Federation of Labour remembers workers killed in farm accidents FREEIMAGES.COM by Kaitlin Lee Posted Dec 7, 2015 7:10 am MDT Last Updated Dec 7, 2015 at 7:17 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Amidst countless protests of Bill 6, the Alberta Federation of Labour is making a strong gesture of support.Labour activists from across the province will gather in Edmonton Monday afternoon to lay down 112 pairs of work gloves.Each pair represents a life lost to a workplace accident on an Alberta farm since 2009.AFL President Gil McGowan argues if previous governments had possessed the courage to end their exclusion from workplace laws, lives could have been saved.He says: “the debate about Bill 6 should be about a group of workers who have been denied their basic rights for far too long.” read more