UNAIDS advances agenda for AIDS plus MDGs during 63rd World Health Assembly

Bookmark and Share

Feature story

UNAIDS advances agenda for AIDS plus MDGs during 63rd World Health Assembly

18 May 2010

(L to R) Chen Zhu, Minister of Health of China, Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Health of South Africa and UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé. Credit: UNAIDS

In key bilateral meetings held on the eve of the 63rd World Health Assembly in Geneva, Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS engaged ministers of health from leading countries on how investments in AIDS can be used to leverage progress towards the other Millennium Develop Goals (MDGs).

During a meeting with Chen Zhu, Minister of Health of China, and Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Health of South Africa, Michel Sidibé cited these two countries as leading examples of the AIDS plus MDG agenda. “China and South Africa are leading examples of how national leadership on AIDS can accelerate broader goals for health and development.”

Michel Sidibé congratulated Minister Zhu for China’s recent decision to lift HIV-related travel restrictions prior to the opening of Expo 2010 in Shanghai. “Every individual should have equal access to freedom of movement,” said Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director. “This is a powerful signal that foreigners who wish to visit, work and live in China are welcome—regardless of their HIV status.”

Michel Sidibé also praised Minister Motsoaledi for South Africa’s leadership in response to HIV. “With the launch of the National HIV Counselling and Testing Campaign, South Africa has launched the world’s largest AIDS initiative that integrates HIV with larger public health goals.” said Sidibé. On 25 April, South Africa’s President Zuma launched South Africa’s National HIV Counselling and Testing Campaign, which aims to voluntarily test 15 million South Africans for HIV in coming months. According to Minister Motsoaledi, “the HIV Counselling & Testing campaign also offers people taking HIV tests the incentive of free screening for hypertension, blood sugar levels, haemoglobin, TB and cervical cancer.”

UNAIDS is collaborating with China and South Africa on the development of the ‘AIDS plus MDG agenda,’ which aims to position the AIDS movement as a force for accelerating progress towards the MDGs. UNAIDS is developing plans for a high-level side event on AIDS plus MDGs during the UN Summit on the Millennium Development Goals in September 2010 that will be co-hosted by the Governments of China and South Africa.

In another meeting, Michel Sidibé met with Dr Jose Gomes Temporao, Minister of Health of Brazil. Brazil is recognized by UNAIDS for having been one of the first countries to achieve universal access to treatment. “Brazil is a model to other countries in its national response to AIDS,” said Michel Sidibé. “Brazil has also demonstrated how AIDS has strengthen the national health system, and the fight for equality and human rights.” Mr Sidibé and Dr Temporao also discussed how Brazil has used HIV to advance the use of trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS) to increase access to essential health commodities. They also agreed feature the results of a 10-year assessment of the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health and HIV in Brazil later this year.