UNAIDS The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS

Town hall on reshaping the future of the AIDS response sets the tone for International AIDS Conference

18 July 2010

Ahead of the official opening of the XVIII International AIDS Conference, a town hall event saw the coming together of influential leaders in the AIDS response to share their insights of what the future of HIV prevention and treatment must look like if the goal of zero new infections and zero AIDS deaths is to be reached by 2015.

Organized by UNAIDS and the International AIDS Society (IAS), the town hall event “Towards a paradigm shift in HIV treatment and prevention” engaged dynamic leaders Kgalema Motlanthe, Deputy President of South Africa, Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, and Julio Montaner, President of the International AIDS Society, in a discussion on HIV prevention, treatment, investments and human rights.

The Deputy President of South Africa underscored his country’s commitment to the HIV response despite the financial crisis that threaten gains made, such as increased access to treatment and for the first time declining rates of new HIV infections among young people.

“Even as the world experiences an economic downturn, investments in the fight against HIV must not be the soft target for austerity measures,” said Mr. Motlanthe. “South Africa has prioritized the AIDS response as an investment in life, hope, health systems, and human development with the view to improve the quality of life.”

By taking AIDS further out of isolation, the Deputy President underscored that his country could see significant reductions in maternal and infant deaths. He called on all countries to renew the commitment to universal access by bringing it in line with the MDG timeframe of 2015.

We need drugs that are cheaper, easier to administer, and diagnostics that are simpler to use. Treatment for prevention is not just a dream. It is possible if we share the responsibility.

UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé

Following Mr. Motlanthe’s speech, Mr. Sidibé spoke on Treatment 2.0, a radically simplified treatment platform that UNAIDS believes could have secondary benefits for prevention. “Let’s be realistic: Costs for treatment are rising. People are starting to lose hope and we need to bring the hope back,” said Mr. Sidibé. “We need drugs that are cheaper, easier to administer, and diagnostics that are simpler to use. Treatment for prevention is not just a dream. It is possible if we share the responsibility.”

Together with Treatment 2.0, Mr. Sidibé said a ‘prevention revolution’ is required to break the trajectory of the epidemic. He said this revolution will not happen without “prevention diplomacy” with the leaders like those who were assembled at the town hall.

Julio Montaner, IAS President, shared his optimism for the merging of prevention and treatment efforts and said that by treating more people, new HIV infections can be reduced.


Following the opening segment, the town hall’s host, James Chau, news anchor with China Central Television (CCTV) and a UNAIDS National Goodwill Ambassador for China, engaged the audience in an interactive panel discussion on prevention and treatment with Barbara Lee, US Congresswoman, 9th District of California, Rolake Odetoyinbo, Executive Director of Positive Action for Treatment Access, Mphu Ramatlapeng, Minister of Health and Social Welfare of Lesotho, and Claudia Ahumada of the World AIDS Campaign.

The panellists shared their personal perspectives of the challenges and progress in implementing HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services as well as ensuring human rights.

The town hall featured a special appearance of UNAIDS International Goodwill Ambassador Annie Lennox who spoke passionately on why she is engaged in the response.

“I don’t want to see any mother die of a preventable disease. Why should that be?” she asked the audience. “HIV is the leading killer of women of reproductive age globally. Why doesn’t the world respond to this? I will keep campaigning until we see the kind of changes Michel Sidibé is talking about.”

Ms Lennox closed the event by asking the leaders and activists who shared the stage and those in the audience to “recommit to the response and take it further.”

New UNAIDS OUTLOOK report 2010 launched

13 July 2010


Ahead of the XVIII International AIDS Conference to be held in Vienna from 18 – 23 July, UNAIDS has launched its OUTLOOK Report 2010 in Geneva.

Key findings:

The new UNAIDS Outlook report outlines a radically simplified HIV treatment platform called Treatment 2.0 that could decrease the number of AIDS-related deaths drastically and could also greatly reduce the number of new HIV infections. Evidence shows that new HIV infections among young people, in the 15 countries most affected by HIV, are dropping significantly as young people embrace safer sexual behaviours.

Also in the report, a sweeping new UNAIDS and Zogby International public opinion poll shows that nearly 30 years into the AIDS epidemic, region by region, countries continue to rank AIDS high on the list of the most important issues facing the world.

And an economic analysis makes the case for making health a necessity, not a luxury, outlining the critical need for donor countries to sustain AIDS investments and calling on richer developing countries to invest more in HIV and health.
Read press release
Download full report (pdf, 6MB)
Visit the OUTLOOK micro site



Treatment 2.0 - Is this the future of treatment?

PDF | 197 Kb

Download supplement



Young people are leading the HIV prevention revolution

PDF | 1.34MB

Download supplement



Making sense of the money + Where does the money for AIDS go?

PDF | 389 Kb

Download supplement



The Benchmark - What the world thinks about the AIDS response

PDF | 1.54MB | 412 Kb

Download summary
Download full report


OUTLOOK micro site:
Visit the UNAIDS OUTLOOK special site to access additional materials

Linking maternal and child health to AIDS ahead of G8 Summit

01 June 2010

UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director for Management and External Relations, Jan Beagle, delivered the keynote speech at an event for Canadian Parliamentarians. 25 May 2010.

Canada will host the annual summit meeting of heads of government of the Group of Eight (G8) countries in Huntsville, Muskoka from 25 to 26 June 2010. The Muskoka Summit aims to deliver the ambitious commitments made at the G8 summits since 1997 related to health, development, the environment, security and good governance.

The G8, which is composed of governments of France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Russia, met last year in Italy and reaffirmed existing commitments on global health, including US$60 billion for health over 5 years, 100 million malaria bed nets by 2010, and universal access to HIV treatment by 2010. A Global Consensus on Maternal Health was also adopted, which includes support for free services for women and children where countries choose to provide it. The first G8 accountability framework was published, showing individual country progress against some key G8 commitments.

Reducing the number of children who die before the age of five is the fourth Millennium Development Goal (MDG 4), while doing the same for mothers during pregnancy or childbirth is the fifth goal (MDG 5). These two Goals are often referred to as the health related MDGs along with the response to AIDS, malaria and other diseases. These three MDGs are closely interlinked and recent data has shown how HIV has prevented further progress in improving maternal health and reducing child mortality.

According to a recent study to assess progress towards MDG4, mortality in children younger than 5 years has dropped from 11.9 million deaths in 1990 to 7.7 million deaths in 2010 worldwide. A similar study focusing on MDG 5 estimates that there were 342.900 maternal deaths worldwide in 2008, down from 526.300 in 1980. The study also highlights that there would have been 281.500 maternal deaths worldwide in 2008 in the abscence of HIV.

Maternal and child health and AIDS

Ahead of the G8 Summit and to highlight the important link between the 2010 G8 focus on maternal and child health and previous G8 commitments to the AIDS response, UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director for Management and External Relations, Jan Beagle, delivered the keynote speech at an event for Canadian Parliamentarians. The event, hosted by the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) took place in Ottawa on 25 May and was attended by parliamentarians, health officials, civil society representatives and several African Ambassadors. CFNU represents 158.000 nurses and student nurses and regularly holds events for Members of Parliaments on health and public interest topics.

In her address, Ms Beagle stated that the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) was encouraged by the sharp focus of the Canadian G8 Presidency on child and maternal health.

“As HIV is the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age, the global response to AIDS can and must be leveraged more effectively to meet women health needs,” said Ms Beagle.

She noted that the Muskoka initiative is in line with the UN Secretary-General’s global Joint Plan of Action focusing on the health of women and children which was launched in April 2010.

Ms Beagle called for an integrated approach to all the Millennium Development Goals and highlighted that MDG 4 and 5 cannot be accomplished without a strong commitment—and real action—on universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.

Prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) programmes provide a platform for integrated service delivery. The recent scale up of mother-to-child HIV transmission programmes enables women to receive sexual and reproductive services at the facilities where they receive PMTCT services. Integrated services can maximize health system capacity by leveraging human resources for broader health gains.

“The focus on maternal and child health represents a unique opportunity for Canada to demonstrate to the G8 how well this ties in with G8 commitments on the AIDS response,” said Ms Beagle. “It also represents a unique opportunity to highlight to the G8 the importance of accountability and monitoring of progress on previous commitments”.

PCB delegation highlights commitment to end stigma and discrimination in El Salvador

28 May 2010

A recent visit from a UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board (PCB) delegation to El Salvador stressed the importance of addressing stigma and discrimination in the response to HIV in the country and commended the government of El Salvador for its leadership on these issues.

"We congratulate the efforts by El Salvador in its national response to HIV under the leadership of the government with active participation by civil society," said Dr Marijke Wijnroks, AIDS Ambassador from the Netherlands, the current PCB Chair. “We are particularly impressed with the openness on sensitive issues such as comprehensive sexuality education for young people and stigma and discrimination of key populations like MSM, transgenders and sex workers”.

The field visit, that took place from 10-14 May 2010, coincided with the launch of a Presidential Decree that prohibits any discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the public sector. The Secretary of Social Inclusion, Dr Vanda Pignato, who is also the First Lady of El Salvador, officially opened the National Directorate for Sexual Diversity during the visit, and stressed that “this Presidential Decree represents the obligation of the State in addressing the issue of discrimination."

The PCB field visit provided an opportunity for Board members to be exposed to the realities of the epidemic and the work undertaken by UNAIDS, together with its national and international partners, on the ground. Dr Menna Ould Tolba, Delegate of the PCB and Coordinator of the AIDS Response in Mauritania said "After participating in this field visit, I am now convinced of the importance of working with and supporting populations at higher risk of HIV infections."

During their visit, PCB delegates met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Hugo Martínez; Minister of Health, Dr. Maria Isabel Rodriguez; the Chief of HIV/AIDS Department, Ana Isabel Nieto; and Chief of the Tuberculosis Department, Dr. Julio Garay. They also met the Vice President of the Republic of El Salvador and Minister of Education, Salvador Sanchez Ceren and discussed with Ombudsman Oscar Luna various human rights issues in the context of the country’s HIV response. The delegates also met with representatives of civil society, including people living with HIV, MSM, sex workers and transgender communities.

Participants in the field visit took the opportunity to explain the ten priority areas under the UNAIDS Outcome Framework (2009–2011), highlighting the tenth area related to men who have sex with men (MSM), sex workers and transgender populations. According to UNAIDS, El Salvador has the highest HIV prevalence rate amongst men who have sex with men (MSM) in Central America at 17.8%

Minister of Health Dr. Rodriguez said, “HIV in our country is an important cross-sectional issue and we must explore every option in order to produce tangible results.”

PCB delegates also stressed the importance of linking sexual and reproductive health with the HIV response in meetings with the Ministers of Health and Education. Cases of HIV positive adolescent mothers with babies born with HIV were particularly highlighted during their visit to the Maternity Hospital of San Salvador. They also watched how an HIV prevention training guide is being implemented at the Canton Milingo School. Some key HIV prevention issues such as sex education in schools and stigma and discrimination have traditionally encountered resistance in the Salvadorian society. Delegates witnessed country efforts to implement programmes that address such issues while respecting the sensibilities of communities and individuals based on their religious views. "Education is the vaccine we already have against HIV,” said Delegate Dr Ibra Ndoye, Executive Secretary of the National AIDS Council, Senegal.

Whilst overall impressed with the quality of the programmes, delegates expressed concerns about the sustainability of HIV prevention programmes targeting key populations. Most of these programmes are implemented by NGOs and are heavily reliant upon external financing. With donors increasingly moving away from the region, sustainability could be at risk.

The delegates asked the government to ensure follow-up and implementation of the Ministerial Declaration that was adopted at the first meeting of Ministers of Health and Education to Stop HIV and STIs in Latin America and the Caribbean in July 2008 in Mexico City during the XVII International AIDS Conference. "We encourage El Salvador to share its experiences widely and hope to see the country play an even stronger leadership role in the regional response to HIV" said Dr César Antonio Núñez, UNAIDS Regional Director for Latin America.

UNAIDS is guided by a Programme Coordinating Board which serves as its governing body. The PCB has representatives from the five regions of the world, the UNAIDS Cosponsors, and nongovernmental organizations, including associations of people living with HIV.

El Salvador, which is currently the Vice Chair of the PCB, will assume the Chair for the year 2011. This move comes at a vital time for the AIDS response when stakeholders will come together to assess progress made towards achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.

UNDP to partner with Sony and JICA in Cameroon and Ghana during FIFA World Cup

30 March 2010

A version of this story was first published at undp.org

Group photo of JICA, SONY and UNDP directors with the Ambassadors of Ghana and Cameroon in Japan

Sony Corporation is partnering with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to bring health information, with a special focus on HIV, to vulnerable communities in Cameroon and Ghana.

This summer, Sony will set up large screens to live broadcast, for free, approximately 20 FIFA World Cup matches, allowing people in areas where TVs are scarce. Throughout the games, UNDP, JICA and local partners will also be offering viewers HIV counselling and advocacy material as part of their AIDS-awareness campaign called “Public Viewing in Africa”. Both countries’ national football teams will be participating in the World Cup, to be held in South Africa this June and July.

Although football is the most popular and closely followed sport in Cameroon and Ghana, the countries are characterised by low rates of household TV penetration (22 percent in Cameroon, and 21 percent in Ghana) with many people unable to watch football matches on TV and support their home country.

By conducting the joint project during the World Cup, one of the biggest sporting event of the year, the partners aim to attract some 13,000 participants and estimate to provide HIV testing and counselling to around 1,800 recipients.

I am in full support of this framework that provides us with tools for a more professional approach in our work with the vulnerable groups in the community.

UNDP Administrator Helen Clark

“The World Cup brings people together, both as teams, and as nations cheering on their players. The same can be true for the Millennium Development Goals,” said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark. “There can be no spectators in the fight against poverty. Everyone has a role to play in scoring the 8 Millennium Development Goals, which if reached would improve the quality of life for many hundreds of millions of people across developing countries.”

Stopping the rise of AIDS, malaria and other diseases is one of eight key Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) UN member nations are striving to achieve within the next five years. The other goals are to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; to establish universal primary education; to promote gender equality; to reduce child mortality; to improve maternal health; to ensure environmental sustainability and to develop a global partnership for development.

“I am delighted that Sony can contribute to the prevention of HIV through our partnership with JICA and UNDP, while also delivering great football experiences to the people of Cameroon and Ghana through our cutting-edge technology and sponsorship of the 2010 FIFA World Cup,” said Howard Stringer, Chairman, CEO and President of Sony Corporation.

JICA and Sony conducted a similar joint project in Ghana in July 2009, and it was deemed a great success. Some 9,000 people gathered in seven cities to watch Sony's high-definition broadcasts of football matches, around three times the typical attendance. About 1,100 young people and adults visited the HIV testing sites and took the test and received counselling —again about three times as many people as usual.

Letter to Partners 2010: Michel Sidibé, Executive Director, UNAIDS

16 February 2010


In his 2010 letter to partners, Mr Michel Sidibé takes stock of his first twelve months in office as UNAIDS Executive Director, and provides his vision for the coming years.

Against the backdrop of an epidemic in transition, he outlines a core set of values that can change the course of the epidemic.

Our challenge now is to take the progress that countries have made towards universal access and use it to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé

These include getting equity, banking on evidence, ensuring rights and dignity, aiming for zero new infections while providing treatment for everyone who needs it and leveraging interconnectedness of health and development.

“Our challenge now is to take the progress that countries have made towards universal access and use it to achieve the Millennium Development Goals,” said Mr Sidibé.

UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé’s 2010 letter to partners was circulated 16 February 2010.
Credit: UNAIDS/G. Williams

Setting the agenda for 2010 Mr Sidibé emphasized three issues. First, taking steps towards ending mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Second, reducing the number of new infections to zero and initiating new thinking around next generation of treatment options. And lastly to focus on tomorrow’s leaders by identifying, mentoring and learning from the younger generation of leaders that will carry the AIDS response ahead.

Read full letter (pdf, 875 Kb.)

New UNAIDS Web Survey

12 December 2008

“UNAIDS is trying to gain insight into our audience and better understand how users of our website feel about the site and the types of content that we have available. The information you provide will help us to assess what additional features are needed and how to improve our web site to make it even more useful in the future.

Your opinions are important to us, so we would be very grateful if you would help us by completing the survey. It should take approximately 5-7 minutes to complete, and all of your responses are completely confidential.”

UNAIDS Web Survey