AIDS is an unprecedented emergency demanding urgent attention. In
sub-Saharan Africa, where three quarters of all HIV-positive people live,
the disease is a catastrophe. Depleting the resources of governments and
extended families, AIDS is killing adults in their prime, robbing schools
of teachers, leaving children without parents, and pushing back hard-won
gains in health and education. While other parts of the world have so far
escaped Africa's high infection rates, the number of cases continues to
rise in parts of Asia, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, and
Latin America and the Caribbean.
By the end of 2000, 36.1 million men, women and children around the
world were living with HIV or AIDS and 21.8 million had died from the
disease, 4.3 million of them children. In 2000 alone, over 5 million
people were newly infected and 3 million people died, the most in a single
POWER OF PREVENTION
UNFPA plays a leading role in efforts to prevent the further spread of
HIV/AIDS. As the largest international provider of condoms and population
assistance, our goal is to integrate HIV prevention into all reproductive
health and family planning services. Key to all prevention efforts are:
Empowering women and girls to refuse unsafe sex or to
abstain from sexual relations.
Changing men's attitudes and behaviour towards women.
Ensuring access to condoms and other reproductive
health commodities, through quality health services.
Combating other sexually transmitted infections,
which assist the transmission of HIV.
Recognizing the part played by poverty and
deprivation in spreading infection.
Ending the shame, stigma and silence surrounding
Ensuring that young people know how to protect
themselves, and including them in decisions that affect their lives.
In 2000, we focused on raising awareness of the disease among officials
and the public, increasing resources to fight AIDS, training health care
providers and counsellors, and promoting access to testing, counselling
and treatment. We expanded programmes to prevent HIV infection, especially
among young people and pregnant women, and supported campaigns promoting
condom use among sexually active individuals. We promoted gender equality
in our programmes and challenged discriminatory practices that help spread
HIV infection. In conjunction with other United Nations agencies, UNFPA
urged pharmaceutical companies to provide essential medicines at
preferential prices to developing countries.
UNFPA is a key member of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
(UNAIDS), a leading global force in the fight against AIDS. As a cosponsor
of UNAIDS, we have been allocated $3.65 million of the programme's common
funds in 2000-2001 to prevent HIV infection. We also cooperate with other
United Nations agencies in the United Nations Development Assistance
In 2000, UNFPA, in collaboration with
UNAIDS, took the lead in
developing an inter-agency initiative to strengthen political commitment
and financial support from African leaders to combat AIDS. From
July-August, UNFPA conducted needs assessment missions in six countries
– Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi and the United
Republic of Tanzania – that are being used to design model advocacy
programmes throughout Africa.