ASEAN General Secretary Le Luong Minh has called on the group’s members to strengthen efforts and share experience in the fight against HIV/AIDS in their current progress towards a single community with one vision and one identity by 2015.

In his December 2 message themed “Shared Responsibility: Strengthening Results for an AIDS-Free Generation” occasioned this year’s World AIDS Day, Minh affirmed that “an ASEAN Community in a stable political and secure environment amidst a robust economy and progressive socio-cultural development can only be sustainable if the current and future generations are assured of a healthy and disease-free community.”

This year, the ASEAN Community marks the second year of moving towards the targets of the ASEAN Declaration of Commitment: Getting to Zero New HIV Infections, Zero Discrimination, Zero AIDS-Related Deaths approved at the 19 th ASEAN Summit in November 2011, he added.

The implementation of the declaration commenced through the ASEAN Cities Getting to Zero Initiative in 13 cities/areas within the ASEAN region, according to the message.

ASEAN, through the ASEAN Task Force on AIDS (ATFOA), has progressively worked towards the sharing of responsibilities in getting to three zeros in the ASEAN communities, Minh wrote.

He added that “the shared responsibilities in strengthening the achievement of targeted results include, among others, the need to invest more in developing innovations in preventing the spread of HIV; and to advocate for a committed stance in implementing innovative and evidence-based research programmes and policies to combat HIV and AIDS.”

In his opinion, ASEAN needs strong political will, adequate financial resources and effective evidence-based approaches and support from partners in order to achieve these three zeros.

“I urge all concerned to continue to work on the ASEAN Declaration of Commitment in getting to zeros and build on political commitments, investments, energy, activism and determinations that have brought us to this turning point.”.-VNA