Adapting to today’s epidemic: UNESCO launches its new AIDS Strategy
18 October 2011
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recently launched a new AIDS strategy intended to meet the needs of the changing face of the AIDS epidemic.
The strategy articulates UNESCO’s contribution to the UNAIDS strategy Getting to Zero, and calls for the need to accelerate universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.
“All parts of the Organization are mobilized at the global, regional and country levels, through activities that are culturally appropriate, gender transformative and evidence-based. This cross disciplinary approach is our signature strength and it is well-suited for tackling HIV,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova.
The launch event was chaired by Qian Tang, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education, who was joined by Jan Beagle, UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director, Management and External Relations and Mark Richmond, UNESCO Global Coordinator for AIDS.
Other presenters included Lady Cristina Owen-Jones, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for HIV Prevention Education, Nobel Laureate Dr Luc Montagnier, Patricia Machawira, UNESCO Regional AIDS Advisor for East and Southern Africa and Pablo Torres Aguilera, Young People Living with HIV Officer at Dance4Life.
All parts of the Organization are mobilized at the global, regional and country levels, through activities that are culturally appropriate, gender transformative and evidence-based. This cross disciplinary approach is our signature strength and it is well-suited for tackling HIV
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova
Speaking at the launch, Ms Beagle commended the new UNESCO strategy and the key role the organization plays in promoting the education sector engagement in national AIDS responses. “The UNESCO AIDS Strategy addresses critical challenges in protecting young people from HIV infection and places particular emphasis on the promotion of comprehensive HIV responses in the education sector.”
In the new strategy, HIV prevention education will be integrated within the context of wider health promotion to ensure that all girls and boys, and young women and men, have access to comprehensive health education. Furthermore, UNESCO strategy outlines three priority areas:
• Building country capacity for effective and sustainable education sector responses to HIV;
• Strengthening comprehensive HIV and sexuality education;
• Advancing gender equality and protecting human rights.
UNESCO hopes that its new AIDS strategy will reinforce the pivotal role of the education sector in a successful AIDS response. With knowledge about HIV and health issues provided in a nurturing and enabling environment, young people can make more informed choices about how to live safer and healthier lives.