Statements and Webcast
H.E. Mr. Luis Estruch Rancaño, Deputy Minister of Health
9 June 2011
LUIS ESTRUCH RANCAÑO, Deputy Minister for Public Health of Cuba, said that with the HIV/AIDS epidemic having afflicted 60 million people worldwide, no country in the world had escaped its effects. Cuba had been proactively involved in the negotiation and adoption of the Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS and had complied with its duties. In Cuba, mother-to-child transmission of HIV had been eliminated and blood-borne transmission of the virus had been controlled. The estimated HIV prevalence was low among the population aged 15 to 49 years, pregnant women and people with sexually transmitted diseases. The treatment programme initiated in 2001 had greatly impacted AIDS incidence and mortality, with over 90 per cent of patients in treatment remaining alive. Civil society had also been a driving force, giving rise to strong activism in health-care centres, scientific institutions and community organizations. The proportion of the population using condoms, mostly youth, had increased. Additionally, Cuba had developed a high-cost comprehensive health-care programme, together with international agencies and the Global Fund. It boasted its own technological and biological products, through which it conducted some 2 million HIV tests yearly.
He said that Member States had committed themselves to achieving universal access to HIV prevention and treatment, but the achievements had been insufficient. Stigma, discrimination and gender inequality hindered efforts, and the rise in costs prevented sustainability in low- and middle-income countries. Cuba, although subjected to a blockade by the United States, had fulfilled its commitment to ensuring universal access to HIV care and treatment. The health-care system guaranteed the access of the entire population to services. Conditions had also been created for the development of educational interventions, access to diagnostic tests and compilation of information for the monitoring, evaluation, treatment and follow-up care of those affected. It was the responsibility of the international community to renew political commitment and expedite actions to halt and reduce the spread of the virus, however, as international cooperation was the only path to sustainable solutions.