PRESS RELEASE

Executive Director, UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Yury Fedotov:

Statement on World AIDS Day

VIENNA, 1 December - We have marked World AIDS Day for 30 years. In this time, significant progress has been achieved in raising awareness and increasing access to prevention, treatment and care services. But we still have a lot more to do to reach many people unknowingly living with HIV, particularly among people who use drugs and people in prison.

The theme for the 2018 World AIDS Day is "Live life positively-know your HIV status".

Some three in four people living with HIV know their status, but barriers to HIV testing remain. Stigma, discrimination, coercion and lack of informed consent and confidentiality still deter many people who use drugs and people in prison from taking an HIV test and accessing HIV services.

In order to achieve Sustainable Development Goal target 3.3 to end AIDS by 2030, HIV testing is key - not only for getting treatment, but also for adopting strategies to prevent further transmission of HIV infection.

HIV testing programmes must be expanded among people who use drugs and in prison settings, upholding the standards of informed consent and confidentiality. For this, we need political will, proper investment and capacity building.

Today, there are many new ways to broaden access to HIV testing, including self-testing and voluntary community-based testing.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes supports countries to increase access to voluntary HIV testing as well as counselling for people who use drugs and for prisoners, in line with the outcome document of the UN General Assembly Special Session on the world drug problem and the Nelson Mandela Rules (UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners).

On this World AIDS Day, let us recommit to ensuring that all people can get the services they need, to protect their health and that of their families, loved ones and communities.

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For further information, please contact:

Sonya Yee
Speechwriter and Spokesperson, UNODC
Telephone: (+43 1) 26060-4990
Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-4990
Email: sonya.yee[at]un.org