Feature story

UNAIDS: The First 10 Years

03 November 2008

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) was launched in 1996 to strengthen the way in which the UN was responding to AIDS. UNAIDS: The First 10 Years is a new publication that presents a multifaceted account of the history of UNAIDS based on multiple subjective views.

The history, written by Lindsay Knight, relates the struggles and achievements of this relatively young organization and the contribution it has made to the AIDS response.

More than 150 people were interviewed and the book is largely based on their accounts. They reflect on how the Secretariat engages the efforts of many sectors and partners from the UN system, government and civil society.

It describes the successes that UNAIDS and its partners made on different fronts – advocacy, fundraising, prevention, treatment. It also attempts to explain the innovative nature of UNAIDS – a joint programme that has brought together a number of cosponsoring UN organizations (originally six now ten).

The publication also looks at the challenges the world still faces if the epidemic is to be reversed. These include sustained leadership, coordination action in countries, “making the money work” and the need to tackle the drivers of the epidemic which include the development issues of poverty and inequality as well as stigma.