Statements and Webcast
H. E. Mr. Jorge Diaz, Minister for Health
9 June 2011
JORGE DÍAZ, Deputy Minister for Health of Chile, speaking on behalf of a delegation made up of representatives of his Government, persons living with HIV and non-governmental organizations, outlined numerous achievements in his country. Coverage of antiretroviral treatment for all who needed it was guaranteed by law, and controls had increased the survival rates of persons affected. Access to HIV testing for all pregnant women was guaranteed, and a protocol for the prevention of vertical transmission had been developed, resulting in a sharp decline in the number of children born with HIV. Regarding prevention, important progress had been made through an annual prevention campaign, with a stable budget established by law. There were new generations of adolescents and young people in Chile who were better informed about HIV and AIDS, which was an essential prerequisite for the implementation of measures of prevention and self-care in sexual health. Chile also had legislation banning discrimination, which prohibited making job recruitment, retention and access to education dependent on a person’s serostatus, and ensured that HIV testing was free, voluntary and confidential. The country was engaged in removing barriers preventing access to diagnosis and included prevention as a central strategy of its policy of comprehensive HIV/AIDS care.
Major challenges and gaps, particularly regarding preventative services, continued to exist, however, he said. Because vulnerable groups included the poor, young women, men who have sex with men, refugees, migrants and persons deprived of liberty, it was necessary to address socio-structural causes and inequalities. Diversity and different realities needed to be taken into account, and strategic alliances needed to be developed. There had to be a stronger involvement of stakeholders and mainstreaming of the topic in society. Total respect for the human rights of persons living with HIV was a duty of the State, requiring legal and political conditions to protect the most vulnerable. Chile also welcomed the creation of collective forums to combine efforts and narrow the economic gap, as well as reiterated its participation in the UNITAID mission to scale up access to treatment for HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. Additionally, Chile highlighted the initiative of universal access to HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment, and expressed support for the WHO HIV strategy and UNAIDS work strategy for 2011-2015.