Statements and Webcast
H.E. Mr. Yves Leterme, Prime Minister
8 June 2011
YVES LETERME, Prime Minister of Belgium, said that Belgium fully endorsed the recommendations and targets outlined in the new Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS Strategy and in the Secretary-General’s report. There was a long way to go in terms of achieving those goals, but the disease could be better controlled through a combination of political will, scientific research and generosity in international cooperation. To stop the further spread of AIDS was to a large extent a matter of respect for human rights and political will, and to help those affected through a variety of treatments. Given that 7,000 people became newly infected with HIV every day and 3,000 young people and 1,000 children were among them, the most vulnerable members of society were at risk and it was the duty of every Government, “every political authority worthy of their name” to protect them. Universal, non-discriminatory access to therapy would have a preventative effect, as antiretroviral therapy could help prevent transmission by more than 95 per cent.
An integrated approach included investment in the research, development and delivery of new prevention tools and of accessible and affordable HIV-medicines, particularly for children, he said. In Belgium, the private sector, research institutions and universities had played a pivotal role in that research, and a Belgian pharmaceutical company had granted a royalty-free licence for its antiretroviral component to develop, manufacture and distribute the compound as a microbicide in resource-poor countries. Only two weeks ago, the United States Food and Drug Administration had approved a promising one-a-day pill for HIV treatment developed by a Belgian company. Additionally, fighting AIDS was a global responsibility and Belgium was committed to doing its part on the international level. From 2008 to 2010, official development funds targeted for combating AIDS increased from 34.6 to 46.5 million euro. Development aid with an AIDS component amounted to 404 million euro in 2010. Belgium also ranked tenth worldwide for its contribution to UNAIDS and thirteenth for its contribution to the Global Fund.