AIDS Ambassadors gather in Indonesia
09 August 2009
Ahead of the official opening ceremony of the 9 th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP), a high-level meeting of AIDS Ambassadors took place in Bali. The gathering was co-hosted by the First Lady and National AIDS Ambassador of Indonesia, Mrs Ani Bambang Yudhoyono, and AIDS Ambassador of Australia, Mr Murray Proctor.
The AIDS Ambassadors meeting addressed the need for leadership in the Asia and Pacific Region and the ways in which Ambassadors can have a greater effect in reducing the spread and impact of HIV.
The AIDS Ambassadors discussed ways in which to strengthen their roles to contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. They also discussed ways to address challenges, including better donor coordination, programs to address gender power imbalances, promoting an agenda for youth and recognition of the development impacts of the epidemic.
The UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Asia and the Pacific Dr Nafis Sadik also participated in the event together with, among others, the First Lady of Cambodia, Madame Bun Rany Hun Sen, Lady Roslyn Morauta, AIDS Ambassador and Former First Lady of Papua New Guinea , the AIDS Ambassador from the Netherlands, Dr Wijnroks, UNAIDS Director, Regional Support Team for Asia and the Pacific, Mr JVR Prasada Rao, UNFPA Deputy Executive Director, Purnima Mane and UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador Salman Ahmed whom participated in the dialogue as an advocate for youth, emphasizing the role they can play in leading HIV prevention efforts.
In order to translate their commitment to reducing the spread and impact of HIV into action, delegates endorsed a joint statement that was then delivered by Indonesia’s First Lady, H.E. Ibu Ani Bambang Yudhoyono at the 9th ICAAP Opening Ceremony.
In the statement, AIDS Ambassadors called on Governments, donor organizations and all community partners to support and maintain HIV programmes with the goal in mind of reaching universal access to comprehensive prevention, care, support and treatment for as well as sustaining progress in implementing the Declaration of Commitment adopted at the UN General Assembly Special Session on AIDS in 2001, despite the pressures of the global economic crisis.
HIV epidemic in Asia and Pacific
According to the Independent Commission on AIDS in Asia (2008), AIDS remains the most likely cause of death and loss of work days among people aged 15 to 44.
An estimated 5 million people in Asia were living with HIV in 2007 according to 2008 report on the global AIDS epidemic. The several modes of HIV transmission present in the region, via sex work, injecting drug use, and unprotected sex between men; make Asia’s epidemic one of the most diverse in the world. The Pacific region’s epidemics are relatively small with an estimated 74 000 people living with HIV across Oceania in 2007.