INTENSIFYING HIV/AIDS PREVENTION
Leadership at the global, regional and national levels and
attention to the cultural context of behaviour change
were key areas of the UNFPA commitment to HIV prevention
in 2001. Among the 5 million people newly
infected this year were young people and pregnant
women—two groups of primary concern to UNFPA.
Africa, with 75 per cent of the world’s 40 million people
living with HIV/AIDS, continued to suffer the highest
rates of infection, threatening development, social cohesion,
political stability, food security and life expectancy.
UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador Mpule Kwelagobe
visits an AIDS patient in Botswana. The former
Miss Universe won the 2001 Jonathan Mann
Award for work in health and human rights.
From Botswana, where HIV rates are highest in
the world, Ms. Kwelagobe is an outspoken advocate
for HIV/AIDS prevention among adolescents.
Photo: Mark Edwards/Still Pictures
Action against HIV/AIDS
UNFPA is at the forefront of international prevention
efforts, building on over three decades of dealing with
sensitive issues of sexuality and culture and working to
integrate HIV prevention throughout all reproductive
Short-term interventions include promotion
of responsible behaviour including abstinence, condom
use, and delaying the age of sexual activity. Longerterm
actions support lasting behaviour change through
the empowerment of women and girls and the involvement
Within the organization in 2001, HIV/AIDS prevention
became a higher priority than ever before:
- UNFPA dedicated additional staff and continued to
enhance prevention programming and networking
through HIV/AIDS advisers in regional, multidisciplinary
Country Technical Services Teams.
The Fund continued to work in partnership with other
co-sponsors of the Joint United Nations Programme
on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). In 2001, Thoraya Obaid,
UNFPA Executive Director, chaired the UNAIDS Committee
of Co-sponsoring Organizations.
At a summit of African leaders in Abuja, Nigeria,
UNFPA called for stronger prevention efforts to halt
HIV/AIDS, with a focus on young people and on the
empowerment of women and girls.
A strategic framework for 2002-2005 was approved
by the Executive Board, defining an institution-wide
strategy for the UNFPA contribution to prevention
among young people and pregnant women and condom
UNFPA participated in Country Coordination Mechanisms
in several countries to help prepare funding
proposals that will be submitted to the new Global
Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
UN Special Session
A major event was the United Nations General
Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS in June
UNFPA prepared technical documents, supported
member states and organized two panel
discussions at the government ministry level—
one on gender and HIV/AIDS and the other on
preventing infection among young people.
leaders adopted a Declaration of Commitment
on HIV/AIDS with specific goals: reduce HIV
infection by 25 per cent among young people in
the most-affected countries by 2005 and by the
same year provide 90 per cent of young people
with access to the information, education and
services necessary to reduce their vulnerability
to HIV infection.