Author: USHA RAO-MONARI
Excellencies, distinguished delegates and guests,
UNDP is honoured to join UNAIDS, the Global Fund and PEPFAR for this important discussion on how we can get back on track to end AIDS by 2030.
While we have made much progress in the global AIDS response, our work is not done.
The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting HIV and other essential services.
We are off-track to end AIDS as a public health threat.
The recent Global Fund Results report shows a 22% decrease in people getting tested for HIV compared to 2019, and an 11% decrease in people accessing HIV prevention services.
We need to act urgently and strategically to protect the gains made in the AIDS response and scale up our collective efforts.
As the UNAIDS Executive Director noted in her welcome remarks, this means addressing the inequalities that for decades have fuelled the spread of HIV.
Gender inequality and other intersecting inequalities, as well as punitive and discriminatory laws make people more vulnerable to HIV and hinder access to services.
Paradoxically, in the context of HIV, it is the most vulnerable who are typically criminalised, suffer human rights violations and bear a disproportionate burden of the pandemic.
Key populations and their sexual partners accounted for 65% of new HIV infections worldwide in 2020, and for 93% of infections outside of sub-Saharan Africa. Meanwhile, critical HIV services for key populations are unevenly accessible or entirely absent.
Those furthest left behind must have access to HIV services. This means removing human rights barriers to access and reducing stigma and discrimination.
UNDP has been supporting 98 countries to do just this.
No country can defeat a pandemic on its own, let alone two pandemics.
HIV and COVID-19 are showing us that global solidarity, stronger collaboration, and new partnerships are needed to safeguard and accelerate progress.
The ambitious new Global AIDS Strategy and 2021 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS provide us a roadmap to get back on track.
As reflected in our new Strategic Plan, UNDP remains committed to work with all partners -- including the Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS, the Global Fund and PEPFAR -- as well as government stakeholders, civil society organisations and businesses to make up lost ground.
A robust coordinated approach among all stakeholders is essential to reaching the SDG target of ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.
Please count on UNDP as a committed partner in our common ambition to end inequalities and end AIDS.