Statements and Webcast
H.E. Ms. Greta Gunnarsdottir, Permanent Representative
9 June 2011
- Statement: English (Check against delivery)
GRÉTA GUNNARSDÓTTIR (Iceland) said her country was witnessing a steady increase in HIV infections, due mainly to intravenous drug use. Different approaches by the Government, non-governmental organizations and the private sector had been used to fight that trend, and the national Red Cross had recently established a mobile clinic to offer services directly to the most vulnerable drug addicts. That service aimed to minimize the harmful effects of their lifestyles by providing them with clean needles to prevent further HIV and hepatitis C infections. Primary school students were being taught about reproductive health and rights, the use of condoms and protection. On the basis of “youth educating youth”, medical students had been reaching out to other college students on those same issues, she said, adding that the public and private sectors had recently launched a joint national campaign to promote the use of condoms so as to prevent infection by sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. She went on to say that young people had access to confidential medical testing and counselling in public health clinics. Social media such as Facebook were also being used to guide them and provide confidential counselling. She called for more attention on achieving gender equality and empowering women so as to ensure that girls and women were not disproportionately burdened by the epidemic, in terms of infections, care-giving and discrimination. Promoting human rights was also an essential part of Iceland’s approach, she said.