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HOME: POPULATION ISSUES: PREVENTING HIV INFECTION: HIV/AIDS Update 2002
Preventing HIV Infection
HIV/AIDS Update 2002
Strategy for Prevention
Country Commitments
Regional Response
Global Action
Conclusion: Challenges
Strategy for Prevention

The current situation
Why focus on prevention?
Strategy for prevention
Core areas of support
Young people, Condom programming, Pregnant women
Enabling environment
Mainstreaming gender concerns, Population and development concerns, Advocacy and partnerships, Capacity building

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Why focus on prevention?


“We can make our biggest impact through prevention—helping young people avoid infection and ensuring that HIV-negative women stay that way, especially when pregnant.”

Thoraya A. Obaid
Executive Director, UNFPA

UNFPA can make its greatest contribution to the fight against HIV/AIDS by working to prevent the sexual transmission of the virus, which is one of the major modes of transmission.

As from the start of the epidemic, the virus is spread through unprotected sexual activity, unscreened blood and blood products, contaminated needles, mother-to-child transmission and breastfeeding. Prevention is directly linked to the Fund’s mandate, which is to help ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health to all couples and individuals.

Efforts to prevent HIV infection build directly on decades of action to prevent the sexually transmitted infections that affect more than 300 million people each year.

Longstanding involvement in sexual and reproductive issues, so often culturally and politically sensitive, also contributes to UNFPA’s effectiveness.

Prevention is a priority of the global agreements that guide our work. UNFPA advances the strategy endorsed by 179 countries at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and reviewed by a special session of the United Nations General Assembly in 1999 (ICPD+5).

Prevention efforts are also guided by the Millennium Development Goals, which all 189 United Nations Member States have pledged to meet by 2015.

Most recently, the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS mapped out goals and targets to guide national and international responses in its Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS.

Currently, prevention is the most feasible approach to reversing the epidemic—lacking a vaccine and with treatment unaffordable or inaccessible to most people who need it.

UNFPA also joins with partners in UNAIDS to advocate efforts to ensure blood safety, provide drugs and treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS, and provide care for children orphaned by AIDS.


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