Statements and Webcast
H.E. Mr. Hanno Pevkur, Social Minister
9 June 2011
- Statement: English (Check against delivery)
HANNO PEVKUR, Minister for Social Affairs of Estonia, said the epidemic was expanding faster than it could be dealt with, creating an economic burden. Estonia had a relatively high rate of infection, with 7,850 people diagnosed, or 0.6 per cent of the population. About 236 per 1,000,000 people had been diagnosed in 2010, with the main group being drug users, he said, emphasizing that it was essential to provide them with services to prevent further transmission to other drug users, sex partners and the general population. Results from a conference held in Tallinn last month had concluded that scaling up assistance for drug users was the key to stopping transmission, he said.
Since HIV also affected people through reproductive health, that should remain a high-level priority, he stressed, adding that preventing vertical transmission was a common goal. Eliminating stigma and discrimination, as well as ensuring the sexual and reproductive rights of girls, were the cornerstones of a healthy society. A stronger commitment was needed to provide the best care for those affected, he said, adding that Estonia’s strategy set clear national targets to be achieved by 2015. There had been a decline in the number of new infections, which meant the country was on the right path. Having gathered to express support for the Secretary-General’s goals in the fight against HIV/AIDS and fulfil them to the highest degree possible, members of the international community needed to work together and share their experiences, he emphasized.