Statements and Webcast
H.E. Dr. Rainer Engelhardt, Assistant Deputy Minister, Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Branch, Public Health Agency
9 June 2011
RAINER ENGELHARDT, Assistant Deputy Minister, Infectious Diseases Prevention and Control Branch, Public Health Agency of Canada, said that despite many successes in the battle against the pandemic, many political, social, economic and scientific challenges remained. Moreover, the progress made was not evenly distributed, and universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support remained out of reach for many countries and certain populations. Canada was committed to achieving universal access, and recognized that getting there required a comprehensive, integrated and coordinated response to HIV and AIDS, he said, stressing that such a response must be founded on actions that were evidence-based and sensitive to diversity, respect for human rights and gender equality. “The value of local knowledge, lived experiences and meaningful inclusion of people living with HIV/AIDS is vital to achieving success.”
By working with partners and aligning with developing-country Governments, Canada was fighting the pandemic in a harmonized way so as to more efficiently reach those most affected, he continued. The Government, which had provided more than $780 million to support programmes in developing countries, recognized that prevention remained the most effective tool to address HIV/AIDS. “Finding more effective methods of prevention is the best way to mitigate the human and financial costs of the epidemic,” he said, stressing in that vein that the Canadian Government was investing in new prevention methods. It was also strongly backing the development of a safe, effective, affordable and globally accessible HIV vaccine through its Canadian HIV Vaccine Initiative. Additionally, Canada was examining the ways in which social, cultural and economic factors could make some people more vulnerable to HIV infection than others, and how those factors could affect the quality of life for people living with the disease.