UNAIDS Theme Group (TG) Meeting



Brasilia, 29 November, 2016 - The last meeting of the year of the UNAIDS theme group (TG) was held yesterday (28), a group that brings together representatives of UN Agencies, Government, international cooperation partners, civil society and the private sector to discuss topics on HIV / AIDS. The UNODC representative and current TG chairman, Rafael Franzini, opened the meeting, which was held at the Buriti Palace, headquarters of the Federal District Government, and was attended by the DF secretary of health, Humberto Lucena Fonseca , the undersecretary of health, Tiago Coelho, the Director of UNAIDS in Brazil, Georgiana Braga-Orillard, the director of the Department of STI, AIDS and Viral Hepatitis of the Ministry of Health, Adele Benzaken, among other experts and interested in the subject.

Federal District HIV/AIDS Epidemiological Bulletin

Secretary Humberto Lucena spoke about the importance of the work of the TG and then gave the floor to undersecretary, Tiago Coelho, who presented the data from the Federal District's HIV / AIDS Epidemiological Bulletin. According to him, currently 18,000 people live with HIV / AIDS in the Federal District, of which 11,000 receive free antiretroviral treatment from GDF. Among the people under treatment, 93% have an undetectable viral load, above the 90% goal proposed by the WG. In addition, there was an 11% reduction in the number of deaths between 2014 and 2015.

Undersecretary Tiago Coelho stressed the importance of advancing the issue of people living with HIV / AIDS, but who are not aware that they are contaminated, since little more than 60% are in treatment in the DF, when the target is 90%. In addition, 242 new cases were reported only in 2016.

Tiago Coelho also reported the profile of the population living with HIV/AIDS currently in the Federal District: every 7 men, 1 woman was infected in 2015. In addition, the undersecretary pointed out that the key population is made up of men who have sex with men (MSM) and adults between 20 and 49 years old (84.3%). Taguatinga, Ceilândia, Águas Claras, Samambaia, Asa Norte and Lago Norte are the administrative regions with the highest incidence of HIV/AIDS.

Regarding other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI), 1117 cases of syphilis were reported in the Federal District in 2016, with a higher prevalence among the male population.

UNAIDS Global Report on the situation of the epidemic


Director of UNAIDS in Brazil, Georgiana Braga/Photo: UNAIDS

UNAIDS Director in Brazil, Georgiana Braga, in presenting the UNAIDS Global Report on the state of the epidemic, pointed out that since 2000, more than 1.6 million new infections have been avoided, and among children the number of new cases dropped 50% since 2010. There has also been progress in access to treatment, which almost doubled in children 0-14 years. Among other data, 1.8 million people started antiretroviral treatment, and the death rate fell by 45% compared to 2005, with TB being the leading cause of death among people with HIV / AIDS.

Geogiana said that the key population in the world is men between 25 and 49 years old and Africa is the continent with the highest risk of contamination. She also highlighted the challenge of access to treatment by young people between 15 and 24 years of age.

Overall, 2.1 million people are living with HIV/AIDS worldwide, and since 2010 there has been no significant decline in the number of new infections in the general population. That is, according to Georgiana Braga, the treatment has been successful, but prevention is not.

Regarding antiretroviral treatment, the director of UNAIDS said that the expectation is that in 2020 it will no longer be necessary to take one pill per day - as it is today - but one injection every 3 months.

Retrospective of the UNAIDS WG Presidency (2015-2016)



Every two years, an UNAIDS theme Group (TG) agency chairs the working group as coordinator of the activities. And the last biennium now ending in 2016 with the competent presidency of UNODC and its representative, Rafael Franzini.

At the last meeting at Buriti Palace, the UNODC representative highlighted the experience he defined as gratifying, both professionally and personally. Rafael Franzini thanked the opportunity to work in the largest and oldest of the UN system working groups in Brazil, which has transcended the boundaries of the UN system to welcome representatives of the Government, the international community, civil society and private sector".

Rafael Franzini highlighted the main topics that were addressed during these two years and that are part of the Brazilian context, to which the HIV/AIDS problem is related. Among them, "HIV in the Prison System", which is the support for the actions of health (HIV-AIDS, hepatitis, Tuberculosis, drugs) developed by the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Health for people deprived of liberty focused on a reality of disproportionate growth of the prison population in recent years, and the prevalence of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in this population.

The second theme highlighted by the TG president was "Youth and HIV," which addresses the need to develop public policies for youth in a crosscutting way, including issues such as sexual orientation, race, violence, discrimination, and human rights. And with great pride, the UNODC representative spoke on the creation of the Young Ambassadors Program. "We selected 20 young people who represent the diversity of Brasilia: blacks, gays, trans, students, among others, who were trained to participate in forums, defend their rights, propose their vision and share their ideas with other youth."

The third theme was "Human Rights and HIV," about which Rafael Franzini stated that "the end of the AIDS epidemic could not be achieved without considering human rights." And this becomes clear when considering issues such as discrimination in the The life expectancy of the transgender population, and the vulnerabilities associated with race, drug use and violence against the LGBT population. These topics help to create stigmas that are soon obstacles to the execution of public policies to end the epidemic ".

The general coordinator of the National Council for Combating Discrimination and Promotion of LGBT Rights of the Special Secretariat for Human Rights, Kátia Guimarães, spoke about the importance of including in the TG meetings the issue of the population most affected by violence, such as young people, black, LGBT groups and low-income population.


Georgiana Braga e Rafael Franzini/Photo: UNAIDS

The chair of the UNAIDS theme group (TG) also spoke on the "Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGASS) on Drugs 2016". About the construction of the document, Rafael Franzini highlighted the importance of human rights across the board over the declaration, ie "a more focused approach to the human person, which has a particularly positive impact on drug users living with HIV. In addition, issues included in the declaration - as alternatives to incarceration, social insertion, consideration of harm reduction strategies for treatment of injecting drug use, where HIV prevalence is high - were important points for the information of this group whose members participate in the elaboration of new public policies ".

Finally, the UNODC representative spoke about the ODS as the proposal to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030, in which he stated that "the strategy to achieve the 17 goals must be integral; a key point to end the epidemic of AIDS, where gender equality, health and justice are key components."

UNAIDS Director, Georgiana Braga, thanked Rafael Franzini for his commitment, presence at all meetings and productive discussions during the biennium 2015-2016 as chair of the TG. She also invited the UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) to chair the next biennium 2017-2018, which thanked and accepted the invitation promptly.

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"We thank our UN Online Volunteer, Juliana Nogueira, for her contribution to the translation of this article".  Juliana is an online volunteer mobilised through   www.onlinevolunteering.org ". 

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