Portuguese-speaking countries join forces with UN to fight HIV

UNAIDS head Michel Sidibé (left) and CPLP's Domingos Simões Pereira sign agreement

18 March 2010 – The United Nations agency that tackles HIV/AIDS and eight Portuguese-speaking countries that are home to an estimated 223 million people have agreed to strengthen their cooperation against the deadly disease.

Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), signed an agreement yesterday in Lisbon with Domingos Simões Pereira, the Executive Secretary of the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP).

The memorandum of understanding aims to strengthen cooperation between the two bodies so that the human rights of people living with HIV are promoted and infection rates in Portuguese-speaking countries can be reduced.

CPLP’s members are Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal, Sao Tome and Principe, and Timor-Leste.

“South-South cooperation among Portuguese-speaking nations can help achieve universal access to HIV prevention treatment, care and support and eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV,” said Mr. Sidibé. “We can learn from each other, especially when we share a common vision in changing the course of the AIDS epidemic.”

Under the agreement, civil society groups and networks that assist people living with HIV will receive technical, political and financial support and channels will be established so that groups operating in different countries can share their experiences and knowledge.

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