Statement by India on Agenda Item 1.3: Report of the Executive Director of the 45th UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board meeting – Delivered by Dr. Sadre Alam, First Secretary (WHO HQs, 10-12 December, 2019)

Statement by India on Agenda Item 1.3: Report of the Executive Director of the 45th UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board meeting – Delivered by Dr. Sadre Alam, First Secretary (WHO HQs, 10-12 December, 2019)

Thank you, Madam Chair.

2. My delegation wishes to felicitate the new Executive Director (ED) Ms. Winnie Byanyima on her appointment. Her appointment not only brings in new energy and dynamism but also the much desired representation of women, a vulnerable population group from a region with high HIV/AIDS disease burden.

3. We warmly welcome Ms. Byanyima to her first Programme Coordinating Board (PCB) meeting looking forward to her vision, guidance and leadership of the programme and assuring her of our full support and cooperation in realising our shared goals through greater collective commitment and efforts especially in the critical years ahead. We thank the ED for her comprehensive report coupled with realistic optimism.

4.  While much progress has been made, it is concerning that parts of the world are still not on track to meet the 2020 fast track targets and that the gaps in resources remain. The ambitious goal of the three zeros serve as a useful framework for action and prevention of HIV/AIDS would be key to realizing this goal. Our success will depend on our ability to identify, mobilize and sustain the required resources, use it efficiently, innovate, and effectively implement the identified actions. More un-earmarked and sustained funding is needed especially for countries dependent on international support.

5. We appreciate UNAIDS ongoing work to define resource requirements and programmatic targets beyond 2020 and leave no one behind, especially women, children or those in vulnerable situations. We support a fully funded and sustainable Unified Budget, Results and Accountability Framework (UBRAF). 

Madam Chair,

6. India is among the countries well on track towards achieving the SDG target of ending HIV/AIDS by 2030. During the period 2018-19, about 79 per cent people living with HIV/AIDS knew their status and 82 per cent diagnosed with HIV/AIDS are receiving free antiretroviral therapy and 79 per cent are virally suppressed.

7. Having already succeeded in achieving the targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, we are now building on the lessons learnt to reach ‘the last mile’. Strong political will along with an integrated, inclusive and multi-sectoral approach based on national ownership involving all relevant stakeholders, including the corporate sector and civil society organizations is helping to push back the epidemic.

8. In India, the nodal National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) is tackling the HIV/AIDS problem through a genuine long term partnership with civil society organisations and the private sector particularly for preventive or targeted interventions for high risk groups, care and support of people living with HIV/AIDS and in general awareness campaigns as well as for workplace interventions in the productive age group of 15-49 among others in addition to working with a number of relevant bilateral and multilateral partners including UNAIDS.

9. Our National Strategic Plan for HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) 2017-2024 envisions “Paving Way for an AIDS Free India”. We have enacted the HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017 to provide a robust legal framework for eliminating stigma and discrimination against people affected by HIV. We have adopted the 'Test and Treat' policy which will extend treatment to everyone tested positive for HIV, irrespective of their CD4 count. A nationwide drive, across the public and private sectors is underway to offer all pregnant women with comprehensive antenatal care, including HIV testing to eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV and Syphilis. My Government is planning to introduce a new drug, Dolutegravir, in TLD combination which has fewer side effects and better tolerance for the treatment of patients suffering from HIV/AIDS, in the domestic market by February 2020.

Madam Chair,

10. Access to safe, effective, quality and affordable medicines remains critical to combating AIDS. More than 80% of the quality antiretroviral drugs used globally are supplied by the Indian pharmaceutical industry. We are committed to ensuring that the quality generic ARV drugs from India continue to be available to all those who need it.

11. Greater international collaboration is needed for capacity building, technology transfer and the full use of TRIPS flexibilities to help eliminate the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2030.

12. India stands committed to taking every possible step to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic and all forms of dis-crimination & stigma associated with people living with HIV/AIDS. We take this opportunity to thank UNAIDS and other development partners for their continued support and cooperation to us. We look forward to a constructive engagement and fruitful outcomes in this 45th PCB meeting.

Thank You.

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