PARIS : High rates of HIV infection combined with rapid population growth mean the next half-decade will be critical for rolling back AIDS, specialists warned on Thursday. “The next five years provide a fragile window of opportunity to fast-track the response and end the AIDS epidemic by 2030,” said Michel Sidibe, head of the UN agency UNAIDS. “If we don’t, the human and financial consequences will be catastrophic.”

A report compiled by UNAIDS and The Lancet medical journal, with the support of leading figures in the 34-year war on AIDS, called for the disease to be given high priority in the UN’s post-2015 development goals.