Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for global action to put an end to AIDS by 2020 and relegate the killer disease to the history books.
Opening a three-day General Assembly meeting to assess progress in combatting HIV/AIDS, the UN chief told presidents, ministers and diplomats from across the globe that if all partners involved in the fight unite "as never before" the goal can be met.
"Today, we gather to end AIDS," the secretary-general said.
"That is our goal: zero new infections, zero stigma and zero AIDS-related deaths."
Ban recalled that world leaders first took responsibility for controlling the epidemic at a UN meeting in 2001, and since then new infections have declined by 20%.
Five years ago, leaders pledged that every individual would get services, care and support to cope with HIV and AIDS and since then AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 20%, he said.