PARAGUAY

Statement delivered by the Minister of Public Health and Social Welfare of the Republic of Paraguay
H.E. Dr. Martín Chiola Villagra

XXVI SPECIAL SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON HIV/AIDS
 
United Nations, 27 June 2001

 

 
MR. PRESIDENT
MR. SECRETARY GENERAL
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

    IN THE CONTEXT OF THE TWENTY SIXTH SPECIAL SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY, PARAGUAY JOINS THE INTERNATIONAL EFFORT TO INTENSIFY THE ACTION-ORIENTED OBJECTIVES IN THE FIGHT AGAINST THE AIDS EPIDEMIC AND TO MOBILIZE THE NECESSARY RESOURCES FOR THIS STRUGGLE.

    THE EPIDEMIC BEGAN IN PARAGUAY IN 1985 AND FROM THEN ON HAS INCREASED WITH ITS OWN CHARACTERISTICS UNTIL, BY MAY OF 2001, 665 CASES OF AIDS WERE OFFICIALLY NOTIFIED.

    THE AIDS EPIDEMIC IN PARAGUAY IS OF LOW PREVALENCE IN THE GENERAL POPULATION, WITH MALE PREDOMINANCE, MORE INCIDENCE IN URBAN AREAS AND MODERATE INCIDENCE IN USERS OF INJECTABLE DRUGS. THERE IS ALSO A TENDENCY TOWARDS FEMINIZATION, AN INCREASED INCIDENCE IN HETEROSEXUALS, AND THE POOR, ESPECIALLY WOMEN, AS WELL AS AN INCREASING SPREAD TO CITIES IN THE COUNTRYSIDE

    IN 1988 THE GOVERNMENT OF PARAGUAY ESTABLISHED THE NATIONAL AIDS CONTROL PROGRAM, AN INSTITUTION DEPENDENT ON THE MINISTRY OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND SOCIAL WELFARE THAT INITIATED MEASURES RELATED TO PREVENTION AND ASSISTANCE FOR AN INCIPIENT EPIDEMIC.

    IT IS WORTH UNDERLINING THAT THE HIV/AIDS PROBLEM HAS BEEN MADE AN ISSUE OF STATE POLICY, WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF THE ACADEMIC REFORM, WHIGH PERMITS EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS TO TAKE ACTION IN TERMS OF PREVENTION AIMED AT CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE. THIS HAS ALSO ALLOWED FOR ACTION TO BENEFIT OTHER VULNERABLE GROUPS, AMONG WHICH WE MUST MENTION PREVENTIVE MEASURES AIMED AT PRISON INMATES THAT USE INTRAVENOUS DRUGS.

    SINCE 1996, THE MINISTRY OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND SOCIAL WELFARE PROVIDES FREE INTEGRAL ATTENTION TO INFECTED PERSONS, INCLUDING LABORATORY DIAGNOSTICS, FOLLOW UP MONITORING, AND THE SUPPLY OF ANTIRETROVIRAL MEDICATION. THIS IS DONE WITHOUT A LEGAL FRAMEWORK THAT OBLIGATES THE STATE TO PROVIDE THESE SERVICES FOR FREE.

    PARAGUAY HAS REPRESENTED LATIN AMERICA IN THE COORDINATING BODY OF THE JOINT UNITED NATIONS PROGRAM ON HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)  FOR THREE YEARS.
 
MR. PRESIDENT

    THE REPUBLIC OF PARAGUAY PROPOSES:

    TO SUPPORT THE IMMEDIATE IMPLEMENTATION OF A COMMON FUND FOR THE FIGHT AGAINST AIDS, WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF PREVENTION AND ASSISTANCE.

    TO REDUCE INEQUALITY IN INVESTMENTS BETWEEN COUNTRIES OF LOW AND HIGH PREVALENCE.

    TO INCREASE INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE TOWARDS PREVENTION IN COUNTRIES OF LOW PREVALENCE.

    TO MOBILIZE INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE AGENCIES TO PROVIDE NON REFUNDABLE FESOURCES IN THE FIGHT AGAINST AIDS.

    TO RECOGNIZE AIDS AS AN ECONOMIC PROBLEM THAT AFFECTS THE SECURITY OF COUNTRIES.

    TO ACCEPT THAT THE HIV/AIDS EPIDEMIC FURTHER AFFECTS THE VICIOUS CIRCLE OF POVERTY.

    TO TAKE IMMIDIATE ACTION WITH INTERNATIONAL PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES IN ORDER TO REDUCE THE COST OF MEDICATION, TAKING INTO ACCOUNT THE RIGHTS OF 36,000,000 INFECTED PERSONS.

    TO CONSIDER THE REDUCTION OF FOREIGN DEBT FOR THOSE COUNTRIES THAT ARE POOR AND AFFECTED BY THE AIDS EPIDEMIC.

    AS A PARAGUYAN I GIVE THIS SINCERE MESSAGE TO THE REPRESENTATIVES OF ALL THE COUNTRIES HERE AT THIS INTERNATIONAL FORUM: "LET US FORGET ECONOMIC, RACIAL, POLITICAL, CULTURAL AND RELIGIOUS DIFFERENCES. THE EPIDEMIC DOES NOT RESPECT ANYTHING OR ANYONE.  IT AFFECTS US ALL, AND ONLY A JOINT EFFORT WILL ALLOW US TO WIN THE FIGHT AGAINST THIS TERRIBLE SCOURGE."

    PARAGUAY THANKS THE UNITED NATIONS FOR THIS OPPORTUNITY TO DEBATE AND CONSULT THAT HAS BROUGHT US TOGETHER, AND HOPES THAT OUR NEXT MEETING WILL ALLOW US TO SPEAK OF ACHIEVEMENTS AND FULFILLED GOALS.

THANK YOU