Executive Director, UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Yury Fedotov: Statement on World AIDS Day

1 December 2017

VIENNA, 1 December (UN Information Service) – We face an urgent need to improve the coverage of the prevention and treatment services for HIV and hepatitis C among people who use drugs and for those inside prisons. This means increased investment in HIV and hepatitis C prevention, as the failure to do this could lead to a rise in new infections.

Perhaps just as troubling, over 30 million men and women are in prisons globally each year. Prisoners are five times more likely to be living with HIV, compared with adults outside prisons. HIV prevalence among women in prison is almost always higher than its prevalence among men in prison.

Last year countries adopted an outcome document at the UN General Assembly Special Session on the world drug problem (UNGASS). The outcome document can be a powerful tool in our hands to aid those drug users at risk of HIV and hepatitis B and C.

Partnership and cooperation among key actors is vital to the development of effective programmes to help drug users and people in prisons. Such cooperation can be powered by the UNGASS outcome document, the Nelson Mandela rules, and the Bangkok rules.

On World AIDS day, I call on every country to fulfil its commitments under the Sustainable Development Goals and the UNGASS outcome document. Otherwise we risk leaving behind people who urgently need prevention and treatment services. We cannot allow this to happen.

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