UNODC supports and collaborates with UNAIDS virtual consultation to trace its 2016-2021 strategy

Brasilia, March 24, 2015 - What are the best ways and strategies to gain ground on the AIDS epidemic by 2021? How to speed up a consistent and lasting response to ensure the end of this epidemic by 2030? Today (23/3) until next Friday (27/3), people all over the planet can help the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV / AIDS (UNAIDS) to find the best answers to trace this path to end the AIDS epidemic. Popular participation in the virtual consultation will help UNAIDS to draw its 2016-2021 strategy. The main purpose of this consultation is to collect the largest possible number of reviews for the adjustment of the current strategy, which provides the Fast Track.

The Fast Track seeks to achieve the 90-90-90 Treatment Target proposed by UNAIDS for 2020: 90% of all people living with HIV know they have the virus; 90% of those diagnosed with HIV receiving antiretroviral therapy; and 90% of those receiving treatment have undetectable viral load and are no longer capable of transmitting the virus. The goals also provide for the reduction in the number of new HIV infections to 500,000 a year by 2020, as well the achievement of the Zero Discrimination goal.

The fulfillment of these goals will require great efforts of all countries in enhancing programs and investments in prevention, treatment and combating discrimination, ensuring the consolidation of an environment conducive to respect human rights. This also means fundamentally change the way the response supports the key vulnerable populations that are still left behind - as explored in depth in the UNAIDS Gap Report.

"Through the leadership and engagement of all of our partners, we are building an action-oriented strategy to Fast-Track the AIDS response, so no one is left behind." Said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, on the formulation of new strategy. "This strategy will put us squarely on the path towards ending the AIDS epidemic."

"The participation of all people, including young people, is essential to achieve the goals of the Fast-Track response by 2020 and the end of the AIDS epidemic by 2030." says Georgiana Braga-Orillard, Director of UNAIDS in Brazil.

"We believe this UNAIDS initiative is very relevant because it allows partners and civil society to contribute to its mandate and, therefore, to cope with epidemic. Therefore, as UNAIDS partners and holders of a mandate that works with HIV, UNODC, not only supports, but also collaborates with important recommendations that could be considered in the composition of the UNAIDS strategy for the coming years", said the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Representative, Rafael Franzini.

The HIV epidemic among people who use injecting and non-injecting drugs continues to grow in many parts of the world. In Brazil, for example, the predominant pattern of drug use is not injectable, but the use of smoked cocaine. A recent study conducted by the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (FIOCRUZ), entitled "National Survey on the Use of Crack - Who are the crack and / or similar drug users in Brazil? How many are in the capital cities of Brazil?" has revealed that the prevalence of HIV infection among crack users and / or similar drugs is about 5%, nearly eight times the prevalence of HIV estimated for the general Brazilian population. This demonstrates the importance of taking account of this part of the population in fighting the epidemic.

Access to HIV testing and antiretroviral therapy are still disproportionately low to effectively protect the health and prevent the deaths of people who use drugs and live with HIV. In this context, stigma, discrimination, punitive laws, inadequate political practices, exclusion of the public health system, compulsory treatment and mass incarceration are the main barriers for people who use drugs to access HIV services, and for health professionals to provide evidence-based harm reduction services. In addition, women who use drugs also face a number of gender-specific barriers, increasing their and their children risks of contracting HIV.

In addition to the people who use drugs, HIV in prisons is a very important issue to be taken into account in the strategy. Tuberculosis and HIV together constitute a majority cause of death in prisons. Therefore, working with HIV issues in this environment is essential to find an effective national response to address the epidemic. However, HIV services in prisons remain insufficient in scale and quality, and the right to health, prevention and treatment services are often denied to people deprived of liberty, especially women and young people.

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