"The pandemic has not yet peaked. UNFPA,
with coordinated partnerships, faces a tremendous challenge to
provide the necessary long-term support to countries. Countries
require intensified assistance to access adequate resources and
implement effective policies and programmes to prevent new infections
and ultimately halt and reverse the epidemic."
— Thoraya Obaid, UNFPA
Two decades of this global epidemic have taken
a devastating toll: the future of young people cut short, the loss
of parents to orphaned children, nations deprived of women and
men in their most productive years. The impact cannot be overstated.
Countries slow to react invite disaster, while fast action can
save lives—especially when prevention efforts protect young
HIV prevention initiatives are under way in nearly
all of the more than 140 countries in which the Fund operates.
This is good news, especially when factored alongside the many
other actions taken by partners in UNAIDS, governments and civil
society to fight HIV/AIDS. In more and more countries, laws and
policies are promoting prevention and protecting people living
with HIV/AIDS—and helping to reduce the shame and stigma
long associated with HIV/AIDS. Medical research is looking for
a vaccine and, with increasing assistance from pharmaceutical companies,
progress has been made in expanding access to low-cost antiretroviral
drugs and the development of microbicides. In several countries,
prevention programmes have helped slow the spread of infection
and more care, support and treatment is available to adults, young
people and children affected by the epidemic. At the 2001 UNGASS
on HIV/AIDS, the unprecedented level of political commitment demonstrated
a truly global awareness of the need for action to fight HIV/AIDS.
Funding still falls far short of the need. UNAIDS
estimates that $7 billion to $10 billion is required annually to
implement effective prevention and care programmes in low- and
middle-income countries. This requires an increase of 5 per cent
or 10 per cent in the world’s official development assistance
- Implementation of a full prevention package by 2005
could cut the number of new infections by 29 million by 2010.
UNFPA spending on HIV prevention in 2002 totalled
approximately $49 million. This figure includes country, regional
and global-level efforts.
A solid base of funding, strong partnerships
and a deep understanding of how best to take effective action will
help UNFPA respond as the epidemic changes over time. In the challenging
years ahead, one concept will remain constant: HIV prevention is
relevant to all countries regardless of the stage of the epidemic
and is most effective when implemented early.
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