Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Ambassador Odd-Inge Kvalheim at the General Assembly session on Implementation of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS and the Political Declarations on HIV/AIDS, 9 June 2022.

The AIDS pandemic is responsible for more than 13,000 deaths every week, a crisis that is undermining efforts to achieve global health goals. It is also colliding with the COVID-19 pandemic as underlying inequalities limit access to health services, and insufficient investment leaves the world dangerously underprepared to confront the pandemics of today and tomorrow.

The General Assembly responded to this urgent situation in 2021 by adopting he Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS: Ending Inequalities and Getting on Track to End AIDS by 2030, which focuses on inequalities.

One year later, UNAIDS data show that HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths are not declining fast enough to end the pandemic by 2030. A failure to reach the 2025 targets in the Declaration would result in 7.7 million AIDS-related deaths during the current decade.

Norway is committed to SDG 3. In particular, by 2030 ending the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria. To achieve this, we need to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes. It is further important to work towards achieving universal health coverage, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality, and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.

Norway has for many years prioritised maternal and child health. We are concerned that pediatric HIV diagnosis and treatment is lagging behind. More effort is needed to better integrate HIV into maternal and child health care, both to improve programmes for vertical transmission of HIV, and to ensure that babies infected are diagnosed and given access to treatment. 

All over the world, there is need for increased focus on key populations as they represent the over big majority of the new HIV-infections. We are particularly concerned with the situation for men who have sex with men, and the LGBTI population in general, and with people who use drugs. These groups are often criminalised and discriminated, and they therefore lack access to evidence-based HIV prevention interventions as well as to HIV-treatment. If we are to reach the targets of the political declaration and end AIDS by 2030, we need to address these inequalities.

To end, Norway as a member of the Program Coordination board of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), would like to express our further support to UNAIDS, as well as encourage all member states to provide both political and financial support to the programme as well as other important partners as the Global Fund, UNITAID, and the Robert Carr Fund, in ending the AIDS pandemic.