HIV and AIDS
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is one of the co-sponsoring agencies of the
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/Aids (UNAIDS) and is the leader UN agency for the prevention of HIV among drug users and people living in prison settings. The Office is also responsible for offering a United Nations response to HIV and AIDS in the context of human trafficking vulnerability.
The UNODC's work focus in the HIV and AIDS area is to assist Member States in implementing comprehensive and large-scale prevention actions and in seeking to offer universal access assistance and treatment for people living with HIV/Aids. By incorporating this topic to its national, regional and global activities, UNODC supports the efforts by governments and civil society organizations in the development and implementation of programmes of prevention and attention specific to drug users and populations living in prisons and other freedom-restrictive settings, including those for adolescents in conflict with the law.
As a guardian to the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, UNODC supports the Member States in the implementation of international norms and United Nations resolutions which demand that all people in imprisonment have the right to receive integral health care, including prevention and treatment for HIV and AIDS, without any type of discrimination and in the same way that is offered to the community in general. UNODC also seeks to strengthen countries' capacity to offer an adequate response in HIV and AIDS prevention and assistance for people in a context of human trafficking vulnerability, especially to the most vulnerable groups: youngsters and women.
One of the most important lessons learned in two decades of work on HIV and AIDS is that prevention and attention interventions must be comprehensive, multi-sectoral and integrated, in order to cater to specific needs of different populations. Considering that, projects with pinpointed interventions end up having little impact. Therefore, to achieve goal 6 of the UN Millenium Development Goals - combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases - it is necessary that responses to the AIDS epidemic are comprehensive, based in evidence and implemented immediately and on a large scale. There is no time to lose. Only if services reach the most vulnerable populations - drug users, imprisoned people and other groups - will it be possible to contain AIDS growth and, as a best case scenario, revert the growth trend up to 2015.