Press release

Member States negotiating the pandemic instrument have an opportunity to save lives and keep the world safe, says UNAIDS

As Member States enter the next stage of drafting and negotiating a new Pandemics Prevention, Preparedness and Response Accord, and the targeted revision of the International Health Regulations (IHR), UNAIDS underscores the importance of protecting the gains made in the AIDS response and encourages Member States to use that experience to help prevent and respond to future pandemics and health emergencies.  

As part of the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2021 UN Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS, world leaders have committed to ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. COVID-19 increased HIV vulnerability and disrupted HIV service access for millions of people around the world. The colliding pandemics of HIV and COVID-19 also led to significant setbacks in the TB response. This experience illustrated powerfully how the impact of other pandemics has the potential to halt and reverse gains achieved in the fight against AIDS. 

HIV remains an ongoing pandemic which would be affected by the impact of future pandemics. The actions necessary to make the world safer from future pandemics are vital for ensuring the end of AIDS as a public health threat and for protecting people living with and affected by HIV. Equally, doing what is needed to end AIDS will help keep the world safer from other pandemics.   

At UNAIDS, efforts to support Member States in the pandemic treaty negotiations are rooted in evidence. At UNAIDS, we adhere always and only to facts, science, data and the lived experience of the people in the communities and countries where we work to support and guide the HIV response. We resolutely urge that all who are engaging in the negotiations do the same, standing for evidence, and categorically rejecting any misinformation, mischaracterization, or misattribution. The systematic use of facts and data in the HIV response has built public trust, and hugely contributed to advances in HIV prevention, testing, treatment and care.

Important lessons from the HIV response that can strengthen broader pandemic prevention, preparedness and response include:  

  • The infrastructure built up and strengthened to respond to the HIV pandemic – from lab systems, surveillance and health information systems, procurement and supply chain management through to community infrastructure and governance approaches – is vital for addressing other pandemics. For example, this infrastructure was widely deployed and played an essential role in helping countries to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Enabling equitable and timely access to scientific solutions, health technologies and medical countermeasures to all those in need is critical for saving lives and ending a pandemic. The role of regulation in ensuring the sharing of technology and know-how for generating local capacities in addressing pandemics is key.
  • Tackling the inequalities which drive HIV and other pandemics is key to overcoming them. Closing social and economic gaps within and between countries will help the world to avoid the millions of preventable deaths the AIDS pandemic has seen from being repeated in future pandemics.   
  • Pandemic prevention, preparedness and response cannot succeed without mobilizing and enabling communities to lead themselves. Investing in community-led mechanisms is critical for successful prevention and response to pandemics.
  • Human rights must be at the centre of all actions to prevent and respond to HIV and all other pandemics. The 2021 United Nations Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS, notes the need to “respect, promote, protect, and fulfil all human rights, which are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated.”
  • HIV has shown us that beyond being a health issue, a pandemic is a gender, social, economic, security, legal and human rights issue.  Whole-of-government, whole-of-society approaches have driven progress in the HIV response. They should be employed at all levels of governance in pandemic preparedness and response.

The gains made and the lesson learnt in the global response to AIDS can help the world to be better prepared for the pandemics to come.


The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more at and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.