20 December 2020 – Cairo, Egypt
With this year's World AIDS Day, we reflect on the impact of COVID-19 on health systems worldwide while paying special attention to those people who live with HIV and in need of its services. In 2019, 62% of all new infections were among key populations including people who use drugs and people in prisons. UNODC, in partnership with the Egyptian Ministry of Interior (MoI) and the National AIDS Programme (NAP) of the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP), conducted two rounds of refresher training to 40 prison medical staff from seven key prisons in Egypt to ensure the continuity and sustainability of services provided.
Active discussions between UNODC experts and the participants covered various subjects including the impact of COVID-19 on the people living with HIV in closed settings; HIV transmission and prevention; the basics of HIV counseling and testing; the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders (Bangkok rules); prevention, treatment and care of viral hepatitis, sexually transmitted infections and tuberculosis; early diagnosis with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and common mental health conditions; prevention, treatment, and care of mental health disorders including substance use disorders as well as required care of released inmates and primary health care and self-care of prisoners with chronic NCDs.
The training is part of the project “HIV and AIDS Prevention, Treatment, Care and Support in Prison Settings in the Middle East and North Africa” which provides relevant prison staff with knowledge on human rights-based, gender-responsive and public health-centered approaches with the aim to enhance capacities in delivering a comprehensive package of HIV services in prisons and closed settings.
Speaking at the main national event marking World AIDS Day 2020, with the presence of the Minister of Health and Population, UNODC Regional Representative for the Middle East and North Africa, Ms. Cristina Albertin emphasized that "World AIDS Day 2020 is not like other WAD as COVID-19 is threatening the progress that the world has made in health and development over the past 20 years, including the gains we have made against HIV. Only global solidarity and shared responsibility will help us beat the coronavirus, end the AIDS epidemic and guarantee the right to health for all. We can only reach our target of ending AIDS if we put all people at the center of our efforts and leave no one behind."
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