Statements and Webcast
H.E. Mr. Martin Dahinden, Secretary of State
9 June 2011
MARTIN DAHINDEN, Secretary of State of Switzerland, said the fight against HIV and AIDS would remain both a national and international priority for his country. While the epidemic had been stabilized on a global level, the situation in individual countries was not always as encouraging. Switzerland was working to combat its spread, focusing particularly on prevention among men having sex with men, sex workers and intravenous drug users, he noted, underscoring its positive experience working with the latter group. Indeed, the drop of infection rates among intravenous drug users demonstrated that the persons directly affected by HIV must be included in the search for solutions. In that context, he expressed Switzerland’s commitment to a human rights focus, which should be at the heart of any and all action against HIV and AIDS. The individual must have the right to decide the future of their sexual health, he emphasized.
Underlining the critical role of men and boys in the areas of sexual and reproductive health in combating HIV and AIDS, he said homophobia and other discrimination must be banned through vigorous legislation. Because young people very often did not have access to sexual education and to sexual health services adapted to their specific needs, Switzerland had, and would continue to, step up its efforts on that front, he said. He further underscored the importance of strategic partnerships among the various sectors and players in guaranteeing access to basic health services and medications, noting the private sector’s increasing awareness of its responsibilities in that regard. In addition, he stressed that mobilization must continue at the global level.