Message from the UNODC Executive Director
on World AIDS Day 2021

Vienna (Austria), 1 December 2021

While significant progress is being made in the global AIDS response, people who use drugs as well as people in prison are being left behind.

Globally people who use drugs and people in prisons remain particularly vulnerable and disproportionately affected by HIV. People who inject drugs are 35 times more likely to acquire HIV than adults in the general population and people in prison are more than six times more likely to be living with HIV than adults in the general population. In many countries, prisons remain a high-risk environment for the transmission of infections including HIV, TB, viral hepatitis and now COVID-19.

According to the UNAIDS Global AIDS Update 2020, people who use drugs accounted for one-quarter up to almost one-half of new adult HIV infections in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (48 per cent) in different regions of the world.

As a co-sponsor of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the UN Office on Drugs and Crime is working to achieve universal access to comprehensive HIV services for people who use drugs as well as people in prisons, towards the global goal of ending AIDS by 2030. By implementing the UNODC’s Strategy 2021-2025 and the new Global AIDS Strategy in synergy we will magnify their impact on these key populations.

On 2021 World AIDS Day, let us commit to ending inequalities and ending AIDS by ensuring that evidence-based HIV prevention, treatment, care and support reach all those who need it.