Barbara Martinez, a young Ecuadorian activist living with HIV, urged the international community not to drop its guard on HIV during her address at the 68th United Nations General Assembly special event on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The event was convened to review progress towards the MDGs as well as to discuss the transition into the post-2015 development framework.
Ms Martinez stressed that integrated and concerted action was needed to reach the MDGs and urged the international community, civil society and people living with HIV to remain vigilant in achieving the goals originally set in the Millennium Declaration. She also called on world leaders to ensure HIV remains a high priority for the world in the post-2015 agenda.
According to Ms Martinez, the MDGs have helped countries make major advances in their responses to HIV. She went on to stress that the efforts towards these goals have greatly contributed to a major reduction in the number of children born with HIV and the dramatic increase in the number of people accessing HIV treatment.
As the only speaker representing civil society, Ms Martinez participated as a member of the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Young People Living with HIV (Y+LAC). Around 210 000 young people are currently living with HIV in Latin America and the Caribbean, with 34 000 new HIV infections among young people in 2012.