Statements and Webcast
H.E. Mr. Søren Pind, Minister for Development Cooperation and Minister for Refugee, Immigration and Integration Affairs
8 June 2011
- Statement: English (Check against delivery)
SOREN PIND, Minister for Development Cooperation and Minister for Refugee, Immigration and Integration Affairs of Denmark, said that the international community needed to ensure that legal and political environments did not hamper the response to HIV/AIDS. They could provide more condoms, more communication and increased access, but they would not be able to tackle the epidemic if they did not address the stigma, discrimination and violation of human rights. Some countries found it difficult to talk about those issues in the health context, but if they were serious about fighting HIV/AIDS, then they needed to face the reality of human sexuality. HIV was mainly spread through sexual contact. Men who had sex with men, sex workers and drug users were the hardest hit by the epidemic. If they met those groups with discrimination and violated their human rights, that would help no one. If they deprived them of counselling and access to condoms and treatment, that would only fuel the epidemic further. That is why Denmark had chosen to fight against stigma and discrimination and why the human rights approach was key.
Denmark had conducted a review of its HIV/AIDS strategy and had doubled its budget with regard to that strategy from 500 million to 1 billion Danish kroner. The review looked at places where Denmark could increase its international impact and the effect of the 1 billion kroner, taking into account recent epidemic trends. More emphasis would be put on distributing male and female condoms in Africa. Denmark would also increase support to prevent transmission from mother to child by increasing treatment and services, and focusing on the link between combating HIV/AIDS and ensuring sexual and reproductive rights. Vaccine development, although high-risk, also offered a high return investment. Denmark would identify promising organizations to develop vaccines. Additionally, Denmark would assist at-risk populations, offering care directly to those groups to make a difference on the ground.