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Countries in Asia Pacific unite in drive to achieve universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support
11:11 am GMT+12, 01/04/2011, Thailand

Prevention revolution, sustained treatment, enabling environment and increased regional financing highlighted as key for regional response


Coinciding with the launch of the Secretary General’s report, nearly 30 countries from Asia and the Pacific met in Bangkok, Thailand from 30-31 March to review progress and challenges and develop key actions for the way forward in the region’s efforts to ensure universal access to HIV services for all.

Despite signs of significant progress, no country in the region is reaching ‘universal access’ across HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. One in three people in the region do not have access to treatment; 60% of people living with HIV in the region do not know their HIV status; and key affected communities continue to be subjected to stigma and discrimination, punitive laws, policies and practices which obstruct access to services.

Many countries in the region – including those with or approaching middle-income status—rely heavily on international funding for their AIDS responses.

UNAIDS Asia-Pacific Regional Director, Steve Kraus, said that governments must create a new form of mutual accountability –government to government –to build a unified regional AIDS response beyond national borders.

“Governments in this region have the economic means to take on greater responsibility for financing AIDS, the results of which will directly impact their continued development” he said.

ESCAP Social Development Division Director, Nanda Krairiksh, added: “The world’s most populous region cannot afford complacency on AIDS. Political leadership with civil society and the key affected communities as the cornerstone of the response requires fresh perspectives from the ground.”

Igor Mocorro from the Philippine Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights and member of ‘Youth Lead’, a programme of the Seven Sisters Coalition of Asia Pacific Regional Networks on HIV/AIDS, said that comprehensive and targeted sexual education both in and out of schools is the key to a ‘prevention revolution’.

“Young people need to make informed choices and sexual education is a tool for the freedom of choice to understand that HIV prevention is everyone’s responsibility,” he said.

“We have the passion for change and it’s time for leaders to take young people seriously as key actors in society who can make a difference,”.

Contacts: UNAIDS Suva Amelia Makutu  +679 3310480/3310481 or 7075916 | makutua@unaids.org

SOURCE: UNAIDS/PACNEWS

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