The concern with the advance of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the world and the need for a global response to that issue resulted in the creation of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), in 1996, which is co-sponsored by ten agencies of the United Nations system, including UNODC.

UNAIDS' global mission is to lead, strengthen and support an ample response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in order to:

• Prevent the advance of HIV.
• Offer treatment and assistance to people infected and affected by the disease.
• Reduce individuals' and communities' vulnerability to HIV/AIDS.
• Mitigate the epidemic's socio-economic and human impacts.

Theme groups (UNAIDS/TGs)

Within countries, UNAIDS leads the work of the United Nations Theme Groups on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS/TGs). The TGs are coordination mechanisms that enable countries to make better use of the United Nations system to support their national programmes on HIV/AIDS.

In Brazil, the Theme Group was created with the goal of contributing to achieving universal access to integral interventions for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS and attention and support to people living with HIV and/or AIDS.

The group seeks to involve experts on HIV/AIDS prevention and assistance, incorporating the UNAIDS co-sponsoring agencies, other UN agencies, representatives of the Brazilian government, the civil society and the private sector, bilateral cooperation agencies, as well as people living with HIV and/or AIDS - a feature of dialogue between different players which sets Brazil's TG apart from other groups around the world.

Integrated Biennial Plan

The work of the UNAIDS/TG is organized through Integrated Biennial Plans, always established based on the country's priorities, which are defined by the STDs, Aids and Viral Hepatitis Department of the Health Ministry.

For the current biennium, it was defined that the Integrated Plan sought to promote actions aimed at minimizing regional inequalities and that such actions were organized so as to promote a bigger local impact. Two Brazilian states were identified as priorities for this work: Amazonas and Bahia, which present with quite difficult situations regarding the epidemic and their response to it. Inter-agency missions were promoted in the two states, in partnership with the Brazilian government, for the establishment of priority theme areas and joint implementation actions.