Delegation of the European Union
to the United Nations - New York

EU Statement – United Nations General Assembly: Implementation of the Declaration of Political Declarations and Commitments on HIV/AIDS

New York, 03/06/2019 - 18:50, UNIQUE ID: 190603_11
Statements on behalf of the EU

3 June 2019, New York – Statement on behalf of the Member States of the European Union by Deputy Head of Delegation, Ambassador Silvio Gonzato, European Union Delegation to the United Nations, at the 73rd Session of the General Assembly, on the Implementation of the Declaration of Political Declarations and Commitments on HIV/AIDS

Excellencies, distinguished delegates, good morning,

 

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

 

We would first of all like to thank the Secretary-General for issuing the report "Galvanizing global ambition to end the AIDS epidemic after a decade of progress".

 

  • The report not only acknowledges the progress made in the fight against the AIDS epidemic, but also rightly points out the remaining challenges.

 

  • The report clearly shows that joint and sustained efforts by all stakeholders to halt and reverse the HIV and AIDS epidemic have proved to be effective, but are not enough.

 

  • Most importantly, this concise and action-oriented document calls for an accelerated response and gives concrete recommendations to galvanize political will and take action to make the 2020 targets happen.

 

Today's meeting is a good opportunity to reiterate these targets and to reaffirm our commitment to reaching them.

 

HIV and AIDS is a serious disease that continues to impact the lives of millions globally. But HIV is also preventable and treatable. Reducing the continuing high volume of new HIV infections is critical to addressing the disease. At the same time, access to timely antiretroviral treatment is paramount and allows the reduction of viral loads to undetectable levels, stopping further transmission of the virus.

 

In order to leave no one behind, we must strengthen the response and ensure universal access to prevention, early diagnostics, treatment and care, including for the most vulnerable.  AIDS is still the biggest killer of women of reproductive age worldwide, and we have to pay special attention to the prevention of mother-to-child transmissions.

 

We should also promote comprehensive sexuality education to address the youth and tackle stigma and discrimination, which are major obstacles to seeking testing, accessing and staying on treatment.

 

The triple 90 treatment targets have set out clear goals for 2020, and with sustained efforts, Members of the EU and of the European Economic Area are on track to meet these goals:

 

  • 86% of all people living with HIV were diagnosed;

 

  • 91% of all people diagnosed were receiving treatment; and

 

  • 92% of all people diagnosed and on treatment were virally suppressed.

 

Yet, the fight is not over. Between 25,000 and 30,000 new cases are reported yearly and, despite the overall decline, HIV rates continue to increase in one third of the EU and European Economic Area countries. These are alarming statistics.

 

  • Around 800,000 people were living with HIV in the EU and European Economic Area in 2018, and about 14% of these had not yet been diagnosed. We need to focus our efforts on these undiagnosed individuals.

 

  • The epidemic continues to affect disproportionally the most vulnerable who are already socially marginalized, like sex workers, undocumented migrants, people who inject drugs, prisoners, and those often affected by multiple infections. As such, health and social policies must work hand in hand to reach those most at risk.

 

  • We need to increase solidarity with the most vulnerable amongst us, and ensure a stronger focus on prevention strategies, training and health services, including for men having sex with men and for transgender people.

 

  • Strengthening public health systems is paramount. We welcome the development of national and regional HIV/AIDS strategies addressing the challenges and capacities of each country, and the acceleration of plans to achieve universal health coverage.

 

 

HIV and AIDS can affect everyone – but countries' capacity to respond might vary. We recognize the enormous contribution by UNAIDS and its role in advising the global response, providing technical support on development and implementation of programmes, and coordinating the response at country level.

 

The European Union and its Member States are at the forefront of the fight against HIV in partner countries through their longstanding support to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Funding from the European Commission and the EU Member States represents close to 50 percent of the total funding to this global health initiative. As a donor since the creation of the Global Fund in 2002, the European Commission has so far contributed €2 billion and will continue its support through an ambitious contribution at the 6th replenishment Conference due to take place on 10 October in Lyon, France. We want to accompany the Global Fund in its adaptation to the new challenges of global health, notably through greater emphasis on strengthening health systems and achieving universal health coverage.

 

We must continue investment in research and support the shift towards a patient-centred integrated approach, and make sure that innovative technologies, products and solutions are available and affordable in particular to the hardest-to-reach groups. We must support community-based organisations and lobby for an increase in public funding for civil society to enhance service provision and advocacy.

 

Let me conclude by stating our commitment to support action to address HIV and AIDS at home, in the European neighbourhood, and globally, using all available financial, technical, and political instruments.

 

Thank you.

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