Executive Director Joins UN Secretary-General at Launch of New AIDS Report

  • 01 April 2011

NAIROBI --- UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and heads of other UNAIDS co-sponsoring organizations following the launch of a new AIDS report.

The report is entitled ‘Uniting for universal access: towards zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths’, but often referred to as ‘The Three Zeros’. It says that investments in the AIDS response have been yielding results and that the global rate of new HIV infections has been declining while treatment access is expanding. It also notes that the world is making significant strides in reducing transmission of HIV from HIV-positive mothers to their children.

UNFPA will continue to play a strong role in HIV prevention within the new division of labour among cosponsors of UNAIDS, Dr. Osotimehin has said, emphasizing that UNFPA will focus on further reducing the sexual transmission of HIV, especially among women and young people -- by empowering youth to protect themselves, supporting comprehensive condom programming, increasing young people’s use of HIV testing. He also advocates for greater integration of HIV interventions and sexual and reproductive health within primary care health systems.

Between 2001 and 2009, the rate of new HIV infections in 33 countries—including 22 in sub-Saharan Africa—fell by at least 25 per cent, according to the report. By the end of 2010, more than 6 million people were on antiretroviral treatment in low- and middle-income countries. And for the first time, in 2009, global coverage of services to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV exceeded 50 per cent.

But despite the recent achievements, the ‘Three Zeros’ report underscores that the gains are fragile. For every person who starts antiretroviral treatment, two people become newly infected with HIV. Every day 7,000 people are newly infected, including 1,000 children. Weak national infrastructures, financing shortfalls and discrimination against vulnerable populations are among the factors that continue to impede access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services.

The subject of HIV prevention is of considerable interest to Dr. Osotimehin, a medical doctor who served as the Minister of Health of Nigeria and led the Nigerian National Agency for the Control of AIDS, which coordinates all HIV and AIDS work in a country of more than 150 million people.

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