Official launch of the V Latin American and Caribbean Forum on HIV/AIDS and STDs
24 April 2009
The V Latin American and Caribbean Forum on HIV/AIDS and STD’s, FORO 2009 was officially announced on Thursday 16th April in Lima. The Forum will take place in Peru’s capital from 22nd to 26th June under the theme “Health is our right, universal access is our goal, no discrimination our challenge”.
FORO 2009 was officially launched by the Minister of Health of Peru, Dr Oscar Raúl Ugarte Ubilluz together with the Minister of Labour, Jorge Elisban Villasante Aranibar, Director of Health Services of Peru, Dr Edward Cruz Sánchez, UNAIDS Regional Director for Latin America, César Antonio Núñez, Mrs. Guiselly Flores Arroyo, representing the Latin American network of people living with HIV, and Dr Jose Luis Sebastian Mesones, Technical Secretariat of the Horizontal Technical Cooperation Group and National AIDS Coordinator from Peru.
Health Minister Ugarte invited all stakeholders working in Latin America and the Caribbean to come to Lima and engage in an open discussion about universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support in the region and single out the gaps in the response. This was reinforced by Labour Minister Villasante, who also raised the importance of reducing stigma and discrimination in the workplace in particular.
During the launch, UNAIDS Regional Director for Latin America, César Antonio Núñez stressed that FORO 2009 “offers an opportunity to governments and civil society to review progress made in the region towards universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support under a human rights perspective.”
Dr Núñez pointed out to the audience that there are close to 500 new HIV infections in the region every day and highlighted the urgency to prioritize HIV prevention efforts as well as the need to reject all forms of stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV and people most at risk of HIV infection.
The main objective of the forum is to promote coordinated national and regional efforts to achieve universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support in the region. The meeting will also serve as a platform to share lessons learned to improve practices on HIV interventions, prevention, research and access to information.
Furthermore, the meeting will review the response to AIDS through analysis of progress made in the fulfilment of the International HIV commitments made by governments in the region. The forum will highlight recent successes, as well as outlining the challenges faced in the region and ways to overcome them. Finally, it will promote the greater participation of all the social actors in response to the epidemic.
Some 4,000 people are expected to attend this year’s Latin American and Caribbean Forum on HIV/AIDS and STD’s. Participants will include people living with HIV, civil society groups, non-governmental and governmental institutions, academia, the media, UN agency representatives and the private sector.