UNAIDS urges Governor of Bangkok to lead a drive towards 'zero new infections'

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UNAIDS urges Governor of Bangkok to lead a drive towards 'zero new infections'

17 February 2011

UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé (left) met with M.R. Sukhumbhand Paribatra, Governor of Bangkok, on 16 February at the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration City Hall. Credit: UNAIDS/V. Dithajohn

In an official mission this week to Thailand, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé held discussions with M.R. Sukhumbhand Paribatra, Governor of Bangkok, on progress, challenges and opportunities for the AIDS response in the Thai capital. During the meeting, Mr Sidibé asked for increased support to help make Bangkok the first city to reach the goal of "zero new HIV infections."

Acknowledging the specific challenges faced by mega-cities in Asia—where new HIV infection rates among some key populations, including men who have sex with men, remain high and where migration is a complex daily reality—Mr Sidibé urged the Governor to play an active role in the June 2011 UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on AIDS with other high-level city officials from mega-cities around the world. "This would be a perfect opportunity to tell the world that Bangkok is committed to getting to zero," said Mr Sidibé.

This would be a perfect opportunity to tell the world that Bangkok is committed to getting to zero

Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director

In his discussions with Mr Sidibé, Governor Paribatra said that a focus on marginalized populations, particularly migrants, is critical to effective AIDS responses in Bangkok. While underscoring the complexity of city-based approaches to the HIV epidemic, he stressed his intention to rise to the challenge of "zero new HIV infections" in the Thai capital. Governor Paribatra expressed interest in attending the High-Level Meeting in June and in addition hosting a "getting to zero" gathering of officials from other mega-cities in the region during his term.