This conference happens in a fundamentally different context from all other conferences. I truly believe that, for the first time there is a real chance that we will get ahead of the epidemic. And this momentum has its roots in both the science and the activism of this last decade. Our challenge remains: how to raise action on both fronts to the level we need to achieve full success.
There are strong bonds between UNAIDS and the Alliance. The Alliance is one of our select few collaborating centres, and our ties are long-standing. Even before UNAIDS began, I worked with your founding Executive Director Jeff O’Malley in the early international AIDS conferences, and Bai Bagasao’s association with the Alliance started in Philippines, before she became a UNAIDS staff member.
In the past years, we have seen a significant increase in church related activities in the field of HIV. The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, the Anglican Church and the Lutheran World Federation have all developed strategic plans on the fight against AIDS and they are now busy implementing them.
May I begin, Taoisech Ahern, by paying tribute to the initiative you have taken in making AIDS a central issue for Ireland’s Presidency of the European Union. In doing so, you are breaking down some of the most dangerous myths surrounding AIDS today: the myth that AIDS is only an African problem, and the myth that, on this continent, AIDS has been defeated.
Today, drug injecting with contaminated equipment is the major HIV transmission mode in many countries in Europe, Asia and Latin America, and is also driving HIV transmission in North Africa and the Middle East. About 10% of all new infections worldwide stem from injection drug use. If Africa is not included in the statistics this figure rises to 30% of all new infections.
Vice President Li Junru, distinguished guests, dear friends, good evening. I am deeply honoured to address the Central Party School, and warmly thank Vice President Li Junru for inviting me here. It is a moving moment to address current and future leaders of the country.
So I’ve come here to discuss and to learn how you are tackling the new challenges. How you are tackling also the fight against AIDS in a context where there is still a lot of inequality, inequity in society. And I’ve come also to discuss how Brazil and UNAIDS can intensify our international collaboration - where Brazil is emerging as a country that has a lot to offer – not only on AIDS – to other developing countries and I’m not only thinking of other Lusophone countries.