What UN Resident Coordinator Kanni Wignaraja said on AIDS day

The Guest of Honour, Hon. Charles Shawa, Minister of Lusaka Province, MP;
Our Host, Ms Christah Kalulu, District Commissioner;
All Senior Government Representatives Present;
Members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to Zambia present,
Representative of the US Government, Dr. Lawrence Marum, Director of Centers for Disease Control;
Representatives of Network of Zambian People Living with HIV;
Representatives of Civil Societies, NGOs, Partners from the Private Sector;
Members of the Press;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
On this world AIDS Day we can be proud. Globally we have reduced the number of new HIV infections and death by nearly 20%. This means less people are becoming infected with HIV and less people are dying from AIDS. 56 countries, including Zambia have either stabilized or significantly reduced the rate of new HIV infections.
With commitment and solidarity, the AIDS movement is helping the world turn the corner on the epidemic. As stated by the United Nations Secretary General “we have significantly reached the first part of the Millennium Development Goal 6—by halting and beginning to reverse the spread of HIV. We must continue to chart a new and bold path ahead.” But let us also be realistic this fight is not over. We know that 226 adults and 25 children still get infected every day in Zambia. This has to stop.
So while we are reaping the benefits of years of hard work in controlling the spread of HIV. With young people delaying their sexual debut and having fewer partners, more people are choosing to use condoms, men are voluntarily choosing to get circumcised, mothers are accessing services to prevent passing HIV to their children and more people are starting treatment. The UN Family stands proud with Zambia and the world to say that we have made progress but we can do even more. Only 15 % of adult Zambians know their HIV status.
The milestones reached in Zambia have been possible because families, communities, government—and cooperating partners have united in an unprecedented movement to control the spread of HIV. But all these gains are threatened and lost if we take our eyes off the response that must continue. So we are asking for a radical scale-up in efforts. It is heartening to see programs such as the Global Fund, PEPFAR, a large number of local and international NGO activities supporting the Government efforts.
From the United Nations let me end with three messages:
First, today we mourn friends and family which have lost their lives to AIDS and who were hurt by bad laws and stigma and discrimination. So let us unite to get rid of these hindering practices. Second, too many Zambians still need treatment. This is a shared responsibility. So let us make sure this is made available. And third, let us not be fearful; let us speak out against sexual violence.
Much of the change required and what will truly allow us to turn the corner comes not through projects but through a change in our hearts and minds and behaviours.
So let us not hide, let us not be fearful, and let us not discriminate. Zero new HIV infections, Zero discrimination, Zero AIDS related deaths is possible in our lifetime!
Thank you.

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