Statements and Webcast
H.E. Mr. Andreas Loverdos, Minister for Health and Social Solidarity
9 June 2011
- Statement: English (Check against delivery)
ANDREAS LOVERDOS, Minister for Health and Social Solidarity of Greece, stressed that the AIDS epidemic had deepened the gap between the global North and South, as the cost of prevention and medical treatment, especially for the countries most affected, was excessive. The epidemic had increased the risk of social stigma for populations, such as men having sex with men, drug users and people in need of transfusions, and the High-Level Meeting offered an opportunity to remind that “the danger is not over”. For its part, Greece’s main objective was to ensure access to public health services and, currently, all people in need could receive medical treatment, even the poor, uninsured or illegal immigrants.
In line with the Secretary-General’s recommendations, Greece also planned to reinforce those initiatives with expanded free condom distribution and needle-exchange programmes, he said, adding that, in those efforts, the Government was working closely with vulnerable groups, civil society and non-governmental organizations. Human trafficking was a main concern and Greece had seen a “significant” increase of recorded HIV infections in 2010, many of which concerned women from sub-Saharan Africa, who had been brought into the country illegally and forced to work as prostitutes. Such problems could only be addressed through closer international cooperation.