Comprehensive HIV prevention urgently needed UN agency head

“What we see today further confirms the importance of a comprehensive and integrated approach to HIV/AIDS prevention,” Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, Executive Director of UNFPA, said.”Universal access to prevention, treatment and care must be the ultimate goal. HIV/AIDS will continue to spread so long as women, girls and vulnerable groups are marginalized, disenfranchised and stigmatized.”Reacting to new statistics showing that HIV infection had increased globally despite reductions in some countries, released yesterday by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Health Organization (WHO), Ms. Obaid said that the widening scope of the epidemic called for an urgent response.Vital to this response, she said, is access to condoms, the integration of HIV prevention with sexual and reproductive health care, and increased attention to the gender inequalities that fuel the pandemic.The UNAIDS/WHO report confirms that in many countries, marriage and women’s own fidelity do not guarantee them protection from HIV infection, she said. Condom use was just as import to effect a decline in the rate of sexually transmitted infections.”This confirms what we’ve known for many years now,” said Ms. Obaid. “While abstinence and fidelity are very important and necessary components of HIV prevention, they must be promoted along with other strategies, including access to both male and female condoms.”UNFPA is one of the co-sponsors of UNAIDS. read more