U.N. officials call for sustained fight against HIV/AIDS

President of the United Nations General Assembly John Ashe called for sustained commitment from the international community in battling HIV and AIDS on Friday during an annual progress report.

Ashe cited a recent report from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that showed progress in 10 target areas since 2011, when world leaders pledged to halt and reverse the spread of HIV and AIDS by 2015.

"The report sends a clear message," Ashe said. "The global solidarity and joint efforts of the international community are yielding significant gains against the epidemic, and bringing about an historic opportunity to lay the foundation for ending AIDS. With continued political commitment, investment and innovation, we can make great strides toward ending AIDS and take a giant step toward creating a healthier and more prosperous human family, living on a sustainable planet."

Ashe said that the rate of new HIV infections worldwide is still high, at approximately 2.3 million in 2012. He also noted that approximately half of people in need of anti-retroviral treatment do not have access to it.

Secretary-General Ban gave remarks during the progress report and also called for continued action against HIV.

"We have the tools, the science and the knowledge to end AIDS once and for all," Ban said. "But we cannot let confidence turn to complacency."