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International Development: HIV

Volume 718: debated on Tuesday 30 March 2010


The Minister of State for International Development has made the following Statement.

On 9 March, I hosted a high-level meeting in the Houses of Parliament in London to review progress towards Universal Access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support in East and Southern Africa, where there are high or rising HIV prevalence rates and AIDS remains a major health and economic burden.

Around 50 HIV leaders attended, including representatives from Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Ministers of Health and Gender, religious leaders, activists, people living with HIV, the heads of the Global Fund, PEPFAR, UNAIDS were present, as well as representatives of other donors and the pharmaceutical industry. We were delighted that a representative of the Canadian High Commission in London was able to attend and contribute.

In 2005, through our presidencies of the G8 and the European Union, the UK led the world in a commitment to the historic goal of universal access. The UK is the second largest donor to the AIDS response globally and we continue to show leadership and commitment. This high-level meeting aimed to keep universal access high on the international agenda during 2010 and beyond.

At the meeting, participants spoke about the key factors that have led to progress at country level, the major challenges ahead and what needs to be done to accelerate progress towards the Universal Access goals.

The meeting celebrated successes but highlighted the need to provide HIV treatment for the estimated 10 million people still waiting for it, and "turn off the tap" of new HIV infections through evidence and rights-based interventions. Transforming harmful gender norms and stopping violence against women is central to achieving universal access. The group recognised the need for health systems that effectively deliver both maternal, newborn and child health services and services for women, men and children who are vulnerable to and living with HIV. We need to integrate efforts to achieve MDGs 4, 5 and 6. To achieve this we need financing for scale-up, through the Global Fund and other mechanisms. But equally we need leadership—political and at all levels of society.

The meeting resulted in a Declaration of Shared Principles that calls for:

G8 countries to recognise the devastating impact that unmet financial commitments have on global health, and to deliver their financial pledges to the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria;

G20 countries and emerging economies to do more to fight global poverty by adopting the global poverty targets agreed by the G8 at Gleneagles in 2005, including financial contribution to the Global Fund for HIV, TB and Malaria;

Southern and Eastern African countries: to put human rights and the need to reach marginalised groups and those most at risk at the heart of country-led efforts to tackle HIV and AIDS; and

Pharmaceutical industry: to help avert a treatment crisis by signing up to the UNITAID patent pool to make effective drugs affordable for developing countries.

I will place a copy of the shared principles in the Library. I am grateful to the All- Party Parliamentary Group on AIDS for their support to this event.