Outcome of UNGASS
Roundtable 1: Prevention and Care
25 June, 2001
The Prevention and Care Roundtable was a lively and interactive discussion
and brought out many issues and challenges to be addressed in order to
scale up and expand Prevention and Care interventions to a level that will
impact significantly on the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Summary of the discussions:
All speakers were cognizant of the human catastrophe at hand due to HIV/AIDS,
especially in Sub-Saharan Africa., and the Caribbean the two hardest hit
It was echoed by many delegates that Prevention and Care are inseparable
and mutually reinforcing integrals of a holistic response to the HIV/AIDS
pandemic that must go hand in hand. Alongside the central role of prevention,
there is an escalating need for care and support for those who are already
infected and their families and a need to deal with the societal and developmental
impact of the epidemic.
Delegates felt there was need to respond to the various scenarios of the
epidemic, taking on board the various socio-cultural and economic situations
of the communities, in order to promote a full spectrum of responses, from
immediate prevention such as abstinence, or condom use, to long-term behavioral
change, including efforts to empower women to say no to unsafe sex, to
protect children from infection and impact of HIV/AIDS and to empower young
The critical need to empower communities to fight HIV/AIDS was echoed,
as well as the need for effective leadership at all levels. Involvement
and empowerment of PLWHAs and civil society was emphasized as a key component
of an effective response.
Concern was expressed about the role of Poverty in fuelling the HIV/AIDS
epidemic, deterring prevention and care and increasing vulnerability, particularly
in SubSaharan Africa, and the need for urgent and concrete measures to
break the PovertyHIV/AIDS cycle.
Many delegates called for the Global Fund to be established urgently to
deal with HIV/AIDS. Mechanisms of its operation should be clarified urgently
and it must give priority to combating HIV/AIDS in the most heavily affected
Interventions must be culturally sensitive and responsive to the needs
of various groups, including women, young people, orphans and other vulnerable
groups, and must strive to build a social fabric necessary to deal with
There is need to institute preventive education and information to promote
responsible and safe sexual behaviors and to enable individuals to make
informed decisions about their health and their lives.
Early diagnosis of HIV provides opportunities for prevention and introducing
effective treatment and care. The need to expand voluntary counseling and
testing as an entry point for prevention and care, coupled with access
to treatment was highlighted as key in expanding the HIV/AIDS response.
Emphasis was also placed on the need to strengthen the health sector within
the multisectoral response, in order to deliver existing interventions
more widely and effectively to those who need them most, specifically youth
Issues of Treatment, Care and support were discussed at length. Many delegates,
including civil society emphasized the need for good quality Treatment
and Care as a critical elements of an effective HIV/AIDS Response and the
role of Care in strengthening Prevention efforts.
Many delegates noted with concern the absence of affordable treatment and
care for HIV infection and AIDS-related conditions.
The need to implement interventions that had been shown to work was emphasized,
including prevention, diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases;
ensuring safety of blood and blood products and universal precautions against
infection and prevention of HIV in pregnant women and its transmission
to their children
Very strong appeals were made to the international community and the pharmaceutical
industry to provide the necessary resources and commodities and to help
build the infrastructure and capacity that is needed to combat HIV/AIDS
in highly affected countries. It was emphasized that HIV/AIDS treatment,
including ARV therapy can be implemented successfully even in low resource
Delegates also emphasized the need to step up investments and research
into HIV vaccines, especially those relevant to the strains of the virus
found in developing countries
Many delegates cited examples of successful initiatives resulting from
collaboration and coordination at various levels: national and community,
public and private. The need for strategic partnerships is key for scaling
up HIV/AIDS Programmes. They highlighted the need for South to South collaboration
in tackling HIV/AIDS
It was felt that advocacy efforts must be intensified to increase awareness,
political commitment and resources for combating HIV/AIDS and to deal with
stigma, gender inequities and other factors contributing to the epidemic
and its impact.
The need for capacity building to enable service providers in all sectors
including health and education to meet the challenges posed by HIV/AIDS
and its impact was emphasized.
I wish to commend the Secretary-General for providing more information
on the structure and administration of the funds, since the first round
table was convened on Monday afternoon. It is clearly evident that the
ideas generated at this UNGASS are being translated into action. This augurs
well for the future.