Statements and Webcast
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
H. E. Mr. Stephen O’Brian, Minister for International Development
9 June 2011
- Statement: English (Check against delivery)
STEPHEN O’BRIAN, Minister for International Development of the United Kingdom, reiterated that in today’s world, no one needing HIV treatment should have to go without it. Ten years ago, it would have been hard to believe that more than 5 million people would now be on treatment, and that infection in many parts of the world would be levelling off. He called on all countries and parts of the United Nations system to deliver on their commitments to fight the evolving epidemic, noting that in many parts of the world, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, HIV remained a severe threat, particularly for women, and especially when combined with tuberculosis.
As the epidemic developed, groups on the margins of society were increasingly unable to gain access to the necessary HIV-related services due to stigma, discrimination or violence, he said. While the United Kingdom respected the right of sovereign States to make their own laws and of people to live according to their own cultural standards, the international community must make a pragmatic approach in order to make progress, on the basis of how the world actually was, not as some thought it should be. What worked was respecting human rights and ensuring access to services for all, he said, adding that his country was putting women and girls, who were particularly vulnerable, at the forefront of the struggle. The international community must better understand how to fight stigma, develop new products like micro-biocides, and keep the hope of a research breakthrough alive. A world of zero stigma, zero new infections and zero AIDS-related deaths was worth fighting for, he added.