UNITED NATIONS– UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for equalizing availability, quality of HIV treatment, testing and prevention in his message for World AIDS Day, observed on December 1.

On this World AIDS Day, “we are calling out in one voice. Equalize! The ‘Equalize’ slogan is a call to action. A call to adopt the proven practical actions that will help end AIDS.

More availability, quality and suitability of services for HIV treatment, testing and prevention,” said the top UN official.

“Everyone needs respect and to be welcomed. And better sharing of technology to enable equal access to the best HIV science, especially between the global South and North,” the UN chief stressed.

The secretary-general added that the world has promised to end AIDS by 2030.

“We are off track. To end AIDS, we must end the inequalities that are blocking progress. Today, we risk millions more new infections and millions more deaths.”

Guterres called for more financial resources, better laws, policies and practices to tackle “the stigma and exclusion” faced by people living with HIV, especially marginalized populations.

“The inequalities that perpetuate the AIDS pandemic can and must be overcome. We can end AIDS, if we equalize,” Guterres said.

According to the factsheets available on the website of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), there were 38.4 million people globally living with HIV in 2021, and 1.5 million people became newly infected with HIV and 650,000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses last year.

World AIDS Day, designated on Dec. 1 every year since 1988, is an international day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection and mourning those who have died of the disease. – Xinhua