Delegation of the European Union to The Gambia

EU Statement – United Nations General Assembly: World AIDS Day Commemoration

New York, 30/11/2021 - 17:26, UNIQUE ID: 211201_14
Statements on behalf of the EU

30 November 2021, New York - General Statement of the European Union and its Member States delivered by Ambassador Silvio Gonzato, Deputy Head of the European Union Delegation to the United Nations, at the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly Informal Plenary Meeting: World AIDS Day Commemoration: End Inequalities. End AIDS. End Pandemics

Mr. President, Excellencies and colleagues,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its 27 Member States.

 

This Meeting not only comes at a historic moment[1] given the number of anniversaries we celebrate this year - it is also very timely. The global AIDS epidemic has claimed 34 million lives so far. But with extraordinary multi-stakeholder engagement, as well as improved access to diagnostics, prevention and treatment the world has come a long way in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Today people with HIV can lead long, fulfilling lives.

One of the game-changing moments was the creation of the Global Fund, which also plays an important role in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic and of which the EU and many EU MS are proud supporters.

Nevertheless, COVID-19 has reversed progress in fighting the disease and deepened inequalities. Around 1.5 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2020 alone and much still needs to be done to end HIV/AIDS by 2030. So the Global UNAIDS Strategy[2] - which has our full support - and this year’s Political Declaration with our commitments on HIV/AIDS need to be urgently implemented.

As the title of today’s meeting correctly states: tackling inequalities is central to ending AIDS. It will also better prepare societies to tackle COVID-19 and other pandemics, as well as supporting economic recovery and stability.

 

Mr President,

In order to fight HIV/AIDS effectively:

We need to keep key populations in the focus, as they are particularly vulnerable to HIV and frequently lack adequate access to services.

We need to work against stigmatization, which is often linked to sexual orientation and gender identity and to punitive laws.

We further need to improve access to evidence-based comprehensive education, including on sexuality, to address discrimination and to ensure equitable access to treatment.

We need a stronger focus on the overall prevention agenda, too many new infections are still occurring.

 

In line with the Political Declaration and the Global AIDS Strategy, the EU is fully committed to getting on track to end AIDS by 2030 and will continue:

  • to work towards ending inequalities that drive the AIDS epidemic, ensuring gender equality and protecting human rights,
  • to prioritize people who are not yet accessing life-saving HIV services, particularly girls and young women - as adolescent girls and young women continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV.

 

We will do so by putting people at the centre of our efforts, supporting community-led initiatives, and in particular by building sustainable and resilient health systems, which is a major objective of the EU in the health sector, with a view to reach Universal Health Coverage.

Twenty years ago, HIV seemed unbeatable. But global solidarity has turned the tide against the virus. Let’s continue our efforts together, so that by 2030, we can declare victory over AIDS!

 

Thank you.


[1] marking 40 years of the AIDS epidemic, the 25th anniversary of UNAIDS, 20 years since the groundbreaking UN General Assembly Special Session, which lead to the creation of the Global Fund to help defeat AIDS.

 

[2] for 2021-2026

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