May 17, 2013
Ottawa, Ontario — Canada recognizes the need to continue the global fight against HIV/AIDS and to find a solution that ends HIV/AIDS here at home and around the world. In recognition of World AIDS Vaccine Day on May 18, the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation, reaffirmed Canada's contribution to this effort and announced the renewal of its support to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the lead multilateral organization coordinating the global response to HIV/AIDS.
"Today, we remember the staggering human cost of HIV/AIDS, a disease that still affects more than 34 million people around the world—95 percent of them in developing countries," said Minister Fantino. "New HIV infections have dropped in many of the world's hardest-hit regions thanks to Canada's ongoing support. There is greater hope than ever before that within our lifetimes, we will see the first AIDS-free generation."
Canada's renewal of funding will support better coordination of the global and country response to HIV/AIDS, a greater focus on eliminating gender inequality, and a stronger results-based agenda to reach the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
Much of Canada's focus is on the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission, including by supporting direct research in the field. This research is aligned closely with Canada's commitment to the G-8 Muskoka Initiative on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health. Reducing the burden of diseases that affect mothers and children is one of the three paths of the Muskoka Initiative, and HIV continues to affect women and children profoundly across all regions. UNAIDS works to build political action and promote the rights of all people to better results for global health and development. Globally, it sets policy and is the source of HIV-related data.
"Enormous progress has been made in the response to HIV in recent years: new HIV infections among children have reduced by 24 percent in the last two years and access to antiretroviral treatment has increased by 63 percent," said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. ‘‘This would not have been possible without global solidarity and action around HIV. The firm support of countries such as Canada will be essential in achieving our collective vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination, and zero AIDS-related deaths."
The Government of Canada is also working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on the Canadian HIV Vaccine Initiative to help develop an affordable and globally-accessible HIV vaccine. Essential support to this effort includes advancing basic science, developing regulation, and building the capacity for conducting clinical trials in low- and middle-income countries.
Canada is a strong supporter of innovative approaches to addressing global health issues. Economic Action Plan 2013 affirms Canada's commitment to international development investments such as the fight against HIV/AIDS. The new Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development will maintain the mandate of poverty alleviation and help achieve greater efficiency, accountability, and focus to continue to improve the lives of people in need around the world.
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For more information, media should contact:
Daniel Bezalel Richardsen
Press Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation