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UNFPA - United Nations Population Fund

Annual Report 2004

www.unfpa.org

Confronting the HIV/AIDS Crisis

Confronting the HIV/AIDS Crisis

More than 3 million people died of AIDS and nearly 5 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2004. There were just under 40 million people living with the disease - nearly half of them women - yet fewer than 1 in 5 people at high risk of infection had access to proven prevention interventions. The number of AIDS orphans climbed to 15 million, 12 million of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa.

The ICPD noted the severity of HIV/AIDS in 1994 and, responding to the expansion of the epidemic, the review five years later (ICPD+5) defined specific and urgent goals. Key follow-up actions specified that HIV/AIDS prevention should be "an integral component" of sexual and reproductive health programmes at the primary care level. Strengthening this approach to services was a UNFPA priority in 2004, complementing ongoing commitments to women and young people and to condom programming.

ACTION AGAINST HIV/AIDS

UNFPA took every opportunity in 2004 to advocate universal access to reproductive health as fundamental to reducing poverty and ending the HIV/AIDS crisis. As a co-sponsor of the global United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), UNFPA contributed leadership at many levels, including participation in each country's United Nations Theme Group on HIV/AIDS.

HAITI'S GHESKIO CENTRES

HAITI'S GHESKIO CENTRESIn centres like this one in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, UNFPA works with the Ministry of Health and GHESKIO, a national NGO, to promote the integration of voluntary testing and counselling with services that prevent mother-to-child transmission.

GHESKIO provides integrated HIV/AIDS services that include information on transmission and prevention, individual and group counselling, and psychological and social support.

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WOMEN AND AIDS

Women's empowerment and equality - goals central to the ICPD - are critical to attaining reproductive health for all, and to halting HIV/AIDS. The ICPD's action plan noted that the "social and economic disadvantages that women face make them especially vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections, including HIV."

Women now number nearly half of all people infected with HIV, and infections are increasing dramatically among young women. In sub-Saharan Africa, 57 per cent of adults with HIV are women. UNFPA supports urgently needed action to respond to the increasing threat to women and girls, including more responsible roles for boys and men.

EMPOWERING WOMEN, REVERSING HIV/AIDS

Women are bearing the brunt of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and strategies to reverse it cannot succeed unless women and girls are empowered to reclaim their rights, says an action-oriented report by UNFPA, UNAIDS and UNIFEM released during the XV International AIDS Conference in July. Noting that 17 million women between the ages 15 and 49 are infected, Women and HIV/AIDS: Confronting the Crisis documents the devastating impact of AIDS on women and girls and highlights how discrimination, poverty and gender-based violence help fuel the epidemic. It also recommends realistic strategies for response, which include ensuring that adolescent girls and women have the knowledge and means to prevent HIV infection, ensuring equal and universal access to treatment, recognizing and supporting home-based caregivers of AIDS patients and orphans, promoting girls' primary and secondary education and women's literacy, promoting zero tolerance of all forms of violence against women and girls, and promoting and protecting the human rights of women and girls.

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YOUNG PEOPLE AND HIV/AIDS

In 2004, some 10 million young people were living with HIV/AIDS, with up to 6,000 people aged 15 to 24 infected every day. UNFPA continued to place high priority on immediate action to address the vulnerabilities of young people in ways that are ageappropriate, sensitive to gender and culture, and open to their participation.

Young people seeking information on HIV/AIDS in Maldives

At a youth fair in the Maldives, young people seek information on HIV/AIDS and other reproductive health issues from a booth set up by UNFPA.

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CONDOM PROGRAMMING

As the world's most available and effective technology to reduce the sexual transmission of HIV and other STIs, the condom is widely promoted and distributed by UNFPA, which is also the designated UNAIDS convening agency on condom programming.

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EDUCATION AND ADVOCACY

The ICPD called for global action to raise awareness about the disastrous consequences of HIV/AIDS, to provide information on means of prevention, and to address stigma, discrimination and issues of human rights. The leadership role played by UNFPA in raising awareness of HIV/AIDS was recognized throughout the year at events marking the ICPD's 10th anniversary.

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