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Leaders, Policymakers Recognize World AIDS Day

On Saturday, December 1, “United Nations officials [marked] World AIDS Day with a call for building on recent successes and pressing ahead to get to zero — zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths — by 2015,” the U.N. News Centre reports. “‘On this World AIDS Day, let us commit to build on and amplify the encouraging successes of recent years to consign HIV/AIDS to the pages of history,’ Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said [.pdf] in his message for the day,” the news service writes, noting UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe said, “We have moved from despair to hope. Far fewer people are dying from AIDS.” The news service also includes quotes from Irina Bokova, director-general of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake; and U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director Ertharin Cousin (11/30).

The Hill’s “Healthwatch” blog notes, “The Obama administration on Saturday marked World AIDS Day with optimism the fight against the disease can be won.” In a statement marking the day, President Barack Obama said, “We have made great strides in combating this disease, and an AIDS-free generation is within sight,” according to the blog. The blog also summarizes statements from Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (Wasson, 12/1). In the U.K., Prime Minister David Cameron “said World AIDS Day should be used to ‘spread the message’ about education, testing and early diagnosis,” the Press Association/Guardian reports (12/1).