Statements and Webcast
H.E. Mr. Nassirou Bako-Arifari, Minister of Foreign Affairs
9 June 2011
- Statement: French (Check against delivery)
NASSIROU BAKO-ARIFARI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Benin, said his country had a low prevalence of 2 per cent, with 60,914 cases in 2010. There was a large difference between urban and rural areas, and women were the most vulnerable, reflecting a feminization of the disease, with two women for every man infected. The risk of an epidemic explosion continued to exist, considering that HIV prevalence was thought to be at 26.5 per cent for sex workers. The epidemic was the focus of the Government’s work, and a multisector committee was presided over by the President. There was also a presidential decree creating a national body that coordinated the efforts of all stakeholders. Benin had a national strategic framework, and financing was provided through budget allocations in each ministry to support the implementation of policies and measures. The Government was working with the Global Fund, the World Bank and the United Nations system, among other partners.
The country’s efforts in the fight against HIV and AIDS had allowed for greater care and treatment, as the number of people receiving antiretroviral treatment had increased from 40 to 84 per cent, and the prevention of mother-to-child transmission had also greatly improved, he said. The country’s national strategy to eliminate mother-to-child transmission and its national plan to reduce mortality among women addressed vulnerabilities among that population. In 2006, the Government had also voted in a law that fought stigma and discrimination. Personnel had been trained on the link between human rights and HIV/AIDS. Civil society, private organizations and religious organizations were participating actively in the fight. Expressing support for UNAIDS, he said progress had been made, but results were still fragile because of the lack of resources. He urged the international community to continue to support Benin, so that results would be achieved by 2015.