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Stepping up partnerships in HIV/AIDS work discussed at UN-backed meeting

Stepping up partnerships in HIV/AIDS work discussed at UN-backed meeting

More than 1,500 participants from around the world are exchanging lessons learned from their efforts to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS and to care for sufferers at a four-day United Nations-backed meeting in Rwanda.

The delegates at the meeting, being staged in the capital, Kigali, are also discussing how best to maintain quality control in the prevention, treatment and care programmes and how to better coordinate efforts with each other.

“An AIDS-free generation can be a reality,” said Doreen Mulenga, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Acting Chief of HIV and AIDS. “We know what works – so let’s use this knowledge.”

Although children have increasingly become important in the agendas of policymakers, only 15 per cent of children in need have access to antiretroviral treatment, she said.

“Partners, including governments and donors, must increase and expand social services that will provide children in need with treatment, as well as protect them from HIV and the impact of AIDS,” she added.

Most of the attendees travelled from developing countries, and participants include government ministers and those working in HIV programmes, including representatives from faith and community-based organizations, and those living with the virus.

“The combined efforts of donors, affected nations, UN agencies and national authorities are providing substantial, ongoing progress in access to HIV services,” said Kevin De Cock, Director of the HIV/AIDS Department at WHO. “This meeting will allow partners to share important lessons learned during the implementation of multisectoral HIV/AIDS programmes.”

Hosted by the Rwanda Government, the meeting is sponsored by the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), UNICEF, the UN World Health Organization (WHO), the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the United States’ President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

The meeting, which has a theme this year of “Scaling Up Through Partnerships,” is expected to wrap up tomorrow.