Thank you Chair,
Our global achievements give us hope for the future. But AIDS is not over. This is the time to move forward, across all sectors, to ensure that all children start their lives free from HIV, that they can grow up and stay free from HIV, and that treatment becomes more accessible so that everyone stays AIDS-free.
Global health, including HIV, has been a longstanding priority for us. Together with education and gender equality, it ranks on the top of our development agenda.
Norway supports the five key recommendations from the Secretary General’s report, and would like to highlight a few important points:
The SDG principle “Leave no-one behind” means ensuring that discrimination and criminalisation do not create obstacles for effective interventions. We cannot accept that the HIV epidemic keeps on growing among key populations like men having sex with men and people who inject drugs. Evidence shows that strengthening the human rights approach is not only ethically sound, but it leads to better and more sustainable results.
Women’s and adolescents’ sexual and reproductive health and rights are being challenged. Therefore,Norway is fully behind the She decides-initiative. The right of women and young people to have control over and make decisions about their own sexuality and body is crucial for their health, gender equality and for fighting poverty and ensuring sustainable development.
HIV persistently and disproportionately affects young people. Girls in Sub-Sahara Africa are facing a triple threat: a high risk of HIV infection, low rates of HIV testing, and poor adherence to HIV treatment. Education is one of the most powerful ways of improving people's health – and of making sure that the benefits are passed on to future generations. Comprehensive sexuality education is key.
“Taking AIDS out of isolation” remains an imperative if we are to achieve our targets.
For Norway the mission of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS remains important. We need to ensure that UNAIDS continues to deliver critical results in a situation of budgetary constraints and increased insecurity of funding.
Last week Norway had the pleasure together with Sweden to table an important resolution in the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Vienna (CCPCJ), on a very important topic that has not been addressed before, namely to prevent HIV transmission from mother to child in prisons. We know that the female prison population is rising around the world, the women are generally young adults, and the HIV prevalence rate in these women is much higher than outside prison. Many children are unfortunately born in prisons, and there are no systems in place to prevent HIV transmission, or to monitor the transmission in such cases. In the new resolution, UNODC with WHO, the UNAIDS secretariat and others are asked to collect data on the status for HIV transmission from mother to child in prison, and on the provision of services, plus work out guidance on how to implement PMTCT (Prevention of Mother To Child Transmission)in prisons, and provide technical support to countries.
We need to ensure that the success of preventing vertical transmission and the work towards the elimination of such transmitting is also happening in prisons around the world. We therefore urge the Joint UNAIDS programme to implement this important resolution, and urge donors and Member States to provide funding for such programming.
To conclude: We will not be able to achieve either The Sustainable Development Goals or UNAIDS’ strategy without the involvement of communities or groups with mutual goals and common challenges. So let us work together to overcome the barriers.