Statements and Webcast
H. E. Ms. Vabah Gayflor, Minister of Gender and Development
8 June 2011
- Statement: English (Check against delivery)
VABAH GAYFLOR, Minister of Gender and Development of Liberia, said her country’s aspiration was to create an HIV- and AIDS-free society, thereby contributing to a global community of societies free of the pandemic. Recognizing the magnitude of that battle, Liberia launched a new phase in its HIV prevention programme targeting young people between 15 and 24 years old. At the same time, it retained a focus on the needs of women, who continued to bear a disproportionate burden from the disease domestically and globally. HIV and AIDS were also mainstreamed into each of the four pillars of the country’s first post-war agenda, commonly known as “Lift Liberia.” Its reconstituted AIDS Authority had also developed a new national strategy guided by the “three ones” principle of UNAIDS: one national AIDS authority; one national strategic framework; and one national monitoring and evaluation system.
Noting that data collection to determine HIV prevalence in Liberia had been intensified, she said it stood at 1.5 per cent among the general population. Strikingly, HIV prevalence among women aged 15 to 24 was three times higher than among men in that age group. While the pandemic’s impact on national efforts to achieve social and economic recovery could not be ignored, gains had been made. They included: the development of a monitoring and evaluation plan with specific gender indicators; the placement of 42 per cent of 10,000 people on antiretroviral therapy; and increasing testing and counselling services for expectant mothers, among others. Nonetheless, prevention programmes must be scaled up, she said, to reach the goal of zero infections among women and girls, to expand access to treatment, to enrol more people in care and to reduce the impact on orphans and other children made vulnerable by AIDS. Finally, she thanked Member States for their investment, through the United Nations Mission in her country, in promoting an environment of peace and stability which was required to advance those efforts.