Posts Tagged 'UNAIDS'

UNAIDS calls on trade negotiators to uphold governments’ commitments to public health and access to medicines

Repost from UNAIDS

GENEVA, 28 July 2015—As the world celebrates the achievement of reaching 15 million people with HIV treatment and commits to ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030, UNAIDS reminds countries of the urgent need to ensure that new trade agreements under negotiation do not impede access to medicines.

In the 2011 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS, adopted unanimously by the UN General Assembly, governments reiterated their commitment to the use of existing flexibilities under the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement, specifically geared to promoting access to and trade of medicines, and to ensure that intellectual property rights provisions in trade agreements do not undermine these existing flexibilities, as confirmed by the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health.

“The flexibilities established in the Doha Declaration and the TRIPS agreement to protect public health and provide access to medicines for all should be fully respected during the negotiation of new trade agreements,” said UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé. “We are entering a crucial phase of the AIDS response which will decide whether we end the epidemic as a public health threat by 2030. Anything that undermines that response must be avoided.”

Various trade agreements are currently in negotiation and concerns have been expressed that they could involve so-called ‘TRIPS-plus’ measures such as broadening patentability criteria and extending patent duration.

Trade negotiators from 12 countries are currently working to conclude the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), which includes an intellectual property chapter that reportedly contains provisions going beyond what is required under the TRIPS Agreement. Such “TRIPS-plus” provisions could make generic competition more difficult and lead to higher drug prices. There is also concern that any TRIPS-plus provisions agreed in the TPP are likely to influence future trade agreements.

Generic competition in the pharmaceutical industry, as well as the use of intellectual property flexibilities, have helped make prices for life-saving drugs much more affordable and enabled the unprecedented scale up of HIV treatment programmes.

“The imperative over the next five years is to diagnose millions of people living with HIV and get them access to the life-saving medicines they need,” said Mr Sidibé, “The right to health must not be negotiated away for trade gains.”

If the global AIDS response is to attain the 90-90-90 treatment target by 2020 – 90% of people living with HIV knowing their status, 90% of people who know their status on treatment, and 90% attaining viral suppression – HIV treatment must be accessible and scale-up must be financially sustainable.

Let your voice be heard on HIV and the Post-2015 development agenda

unaidslogoFrom UNAIDS

The international community is talking a lot about what development will look like post the Millennium Development Goals in 2015. Of great concern to UNAIDS/us is making sure that HIV, and the response to it, remain a central feature in the Post-2015 agenda. Why? Because the global HIV epidemic remains one of the world’s leading causes of early death and is both a driver and consequence of inequality and social injustice. The AIDS response has also been a pioneer and pathfinder on many fronts, and the innovation, dynamism, community leadership and global solidarity that characterizes the AIDS movement can make critical contributions to doing health and development differently in the Post-2015 era.

To capture your voices and views on how AIDS and health should be reflected Post-2015, UNAIDS is hosting an online and open-to-all conversation that will be moderated by nine individuals with long-standing experience in HIV and health. This online conversation will run for two weeks, between 21 January to 3 February.

To participate, visit and start sharing your thoughts on the following three thematic questions up for discussion:

1: The unfinished HIV agenda: How is the HIV epidemic, and responses to it, relevant to the new Post-2015 health agenda in your community, nation, region or sector?

2: AIDS, health and development: What are the key factors that account for the significant progress seen in the AIDS response and how can these factors be applied to doing health and development differently?

3: Decision-making and accountability: What changes to systems of decision-making, monitoring, evaluation and accountability are needed to guide efforts towards the end of the HIV epidemic in the Post-2015 development agenda?

A Consultation Report will emerge from the e-discussion.  It will be shared broadly and also used in these specific ways:

  • The Report will influence the discussion and outcomes of the High-Level Health Thematic meeting (5-6 March in Botswana).  In particular, it will inform the Health Thematic synthesis paper.
  • It will be sent to the UNAIDS-LANCET Commission as a primary resource.
  • It will be used to write editorials and blogs, including those by the UNAIDS Executive Director and e-Consultation Moderators.
  • Participants will be encouraged to share the Report widely through their networks.

UNAIDS Reinforces Role in Combating HIV/AIDS Among Men Who Have Sex with Men

Thank you to amfAR for allowing Global Equality Today to re-post


NEW YORK, June 28, 2010—amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, on Monday welcomed the news that the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board (PCB) called  for the intensifying of efforts to meet the health needs of men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender people and applauded the U.S. State Department for helping to support the board’s decision.

The PCB meeting, which last week brought together more than 300 participants and observers from United Nations Member States, international organizations, and NGOs—including representatives from amfAR—marked a turning point in the official UNAIDS response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. MSM are deemed a vulnerable population in large part because widespread prejudice and discrimination often consign them to the margins of society and limit their access to HIV prevention, treatment, and care. Currently, nearly 80 countries have laws that ban same-sex sexual behavior, and, on average, MSM in developing countries are 19 times more likely to be HIV-positive than the general population.

“We cannot reach vulnerable populations with life-saving public health services if their behavior is against the law,” said Michel Sidibe, executive director of UNAIDS.

The U.S. State Department, which oversees PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), one of the largest international contributors to the AIDS relief effort, recently identified MSM as a key population in its five-year strategy. Addressing the board, a PEPFAR representative underscored the important role that targeting MSM and protecting human rights must play in an effective global HIV/AIDS response.

“As we intensify outreach to persons who engage in high-risk behaviors, including MSM, sex workers, and injecting drug users, our strategies must be sensitive to the individuals participating in high-risk behaviors,” said Deborah von Zinkernagel, principal deputy global AIDS coordinator for the State Department, during her remarks at the meeting. “No matter how effective the intervention, it is imperative that we engage with respect for human rights.”

With the new direction, the PCB requested that UN Member States, with support from UNAIDS, determine ways to involve key populations at risk in HIV programs and data collection.

amfAR has long recognized that a strong HIV/AIDS response must include specific outreach to MSM and transgender populations. In response to high infection rates among MSM, in 2007 amfAR established the MSM Initiative, which so far has awarded more than $1.9 million in grants to support 79 front-line organizations serving MSM in 53 countries.

“While community groups are leading the response in many low- and middle-income countries, their impact will remain limited if MSM and other vulnerable groups are not included in government and multilateral planning efforts,” said Chris Collins, amfAR’s vice president and director of public policy, who addressed the board. “Only by including the affected group in decision making and program design can you be effective.”

About amfAR
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, is one of the world’s leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and the advocacy of sound AIDS-related public policy. Since 1985, amfAR has invested more than $307 million in its programs and has awarded grants to more than 2,000 research teams worldwide.

UNAIDS and the Global Fund meet with Chair of the African Union

Press Release Issued by UNAIDS and Global Fund

Executive Directors discuss the Millennium Development Goals and human rights as they complete joint visit to Malawi

LILONGWE, Malawi, 25 May 2010—In a joint official visit to Malawi, the Executive Directors of UNAIDS and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria commended President Bingu wa Mutharika on Malawi’s progress in the AIDS response and his leadership as Chairperson of the African Union on AIDS, health, food security and development.

“President Mutharika’s vision for the African Union is essential to a sustainable response to AIDS and the Millennium Development Goals,” said Mr Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS.

“As Chair of the African Union, President Mutharika can showcase Malawi’s achievements in health,” said Prof. Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. “President Mutharika can be a strong voice for Africa as the international community focuses on achieving health-related and other Millennium Development Goals.”

During their meeting with the President, the Executive Directors emphasized the pivotal role of African voices in advocating for strong leadership in the response to HIV and health. The Executive Directors also emphasized the link between sustaining progress in the AIDS response and ensuring a fully funded Global Fund.

Mr Sidibé and Prof. Kazatchkine also expressed their concern over the recent conviction of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, two men in Malawi who were sentenced to 14 years in prison with hard labour for “indecent practices between males” and “unnatural offenses.” They discussed with President Mutharika the health, societal, cultural and human rights ramifications of this case, which has attracted international attention.

“Criminalizing sexual behaviour drives people who engage in same-sex relations underground and hampers HIV-related programmes aimed at addressing their needs,” said Prof. Kazatchkine.

“Evidence from several countries in Africa shows a significant number of new HIV infections occurring among sex workers, people who use drugs and men who have sex with men. Opening a societal dialogue on these sensitive and critical issues is the only way to guarantee access to health services and restore dignity to all,” said Mr Sidibé.

President Mutharika expressed his appreciation to Mr Sidibé and Prof. Kazatchkine for raising these issues. He said that he is confident the cultural, religious and legal dimensions of the debate generated around this case will lead to a positive outcome. He also recognized the importance of good health and development and proposed to serve as a strong advocate for the replenishment of the Global Fund, and work towards an HIV-free generation in Africa.


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