Satellite Session on HIV and the Law – High Level Forum to address HIV in Eastern Europe & Central Asia, Moscow, Russia 11 October 2011
- Published on Tuesday, 11 October 2011 04:31
The meeting brought together varied stakeholders and high-level leaders including Michel Sidibé, Executive Director, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS); Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director, Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; Zsuzsanna Jakab, Director of Regional Office for Europe, World Health Organization; Gennadiy G. Onischenko, Head, Federal Service on Consumer Right Protection and Human Wellbeing, Russian Federation and Sergey V. Lavrov, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. UNDP was represented by Jeffrey O’Malley, Director, HIV/AIDS Group; Mandeep Dhaliwal, Cluster Leader: HIV, Health, Human Rights and Governance; Christoph Hamelmann, Regional Practice Leader: HIV, Health and Development and Dudley Tarlton, Regional Specialist on HIV, Health and Development. Commissioner Stephen Lewis, Global Commission on HIV and the Law, participated in the panel discussion and delivered a powerful speech stating that government must “recognize that injecting drug use is an illness, a public health issue, not a target for punitive attack, or incarceration, or assault by the police.
The mentality is profoundly warped … it’s as though injecting drug users weren’t human, and this environment of personal malice turns into the malice of the state.” UNDP interventions strategically addressed issues of concern to ensuring effective HIV responses in the region especially in relation to HIV prevention, treatment and care services for key populations.According to UNAIDS estimates, Eastern Europe and Central Asia remains the only region where new HIV infections continue to grow. Approximately 1.4 million people are living with HIV in Eastern Europe and Central Asia with the epidemic concentrated among key populations including injecting drug users, sex workers and men who have sex with men.
The High Level Forum enabled an assessment of Eastern Europe and Central Asia countries in meeting MDG6 – halting and reversing the spread of HIV, malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases by 2015 – by identifying main challenges and gaps and developing an action plan for reaching MDG6 in the region by 2015. Currently, MDG6 is one of the MDGs which will be most problematic for the region to achieve by 2015. The need for governments to prioritize HIV prevention, treatment and care even within the context of shrinking international resources for HIV was highlighted.
A Declaration on behalf of civil society was distributed at the meeting calling for governments to act urgently on the HIV epidemic in order to achieve MDG6. The Declaration highlights that, “…in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, drug use and the unavailability of clean injecting equipment continues to drive the HIV epidemic. Indeed, drug users are still one of the most vulnerable populations regarding both HIV infection and violations of human rights”.
Web-story of the Satellite Session on HIV & the Law, High Level Forum on MDG 6, Moscow, Russia, 11 October 2011 Download
Commissioner Stephen Lewis, Speech delivered at the Satellite Session on HIV & the Law, Moscow, Russia, 11 October 2011 Click here