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Bill Clinton says Aids-free world is just over the horizon

Melbourne - Former US president Bill Clinton on Wednesday told delegates at the 20th edition of the International Aids Conference in Melbourne that an end to the disease is in sight.

"The Aids-free world that so many of you have worked to build is just over the horizon," he said.

The tools needed to treat Aids and stop its transmission are available, he said, adding: "We’re here because we know how far we still have to go."

Two million people are still being infected with the Aids virus HIV every year and millions more were still need access to treatment, he noted.

Detailing the work of his foundation in the field of HIV/Aids in various African countries, he praised Rwanda for making "remarkable progress" that included a programme to train all health workers with the assistance of international partners.

UN targets to eliminate Aids by 2030 include having 90 per cent of people with HIV diagnosed and on treatment by 2020.

Around 35 million people are living with HIV/Aids, with an estimated 19 million unaware of their status.

Clinton paid tribute to the six Aids 2014 delegates killed in theMH17 plane crash in Ukraine while en route to Melbourne.

"It is important that we honour the service and lives of those that were lost on MH17," he said.

Aids 2014 opened on Sunday, with around 14,000 researchers, activists and policymakers expected to attend the five-day event.

DPA


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