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General Assembly – High-level meeting on HIV/AIDS

Statement delivered by the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Marina Sereni, at the  High-level meeting on HIV/AIDS —

President of the General Assembly,

Deputy Secretary-General,

Distinguished participants,

Today, with access to adequate treatment, an HIV-positive person can expect to have the same lifespan as someone who is HIV-negative.

Lifesaving treatment have shed some hope.

Of the 38 million people living with HIV, over 25 million receive adequate treatment.

This is indeed a fundamental achievement.

However, as Covid-19 has massively impacted HIV testing and treatment, this is not enough and we must continue to invest in the fight against HIV/AIDS to eradicate its root causes.

First. We must target key populations who are socially marginalized and vulnerable to HIV.

Second. Women are at higher risk for HIV due to economic and social reasons. We must continue to invest in gender equality and education for young girls.

Third. As HIV challenges society to confront personal topics in an open and honest way, we must invest in comprehensive sexual education that lays the foundation for life saving awareness and self-determination. Italy has supported the fight against HIV/AIDS, particularly through the Global Fund’s valuable activity. At the last replenishment conference in Lyon, we announced our increased contribution to the Fund. Several Italian NGOs, research institutions and academia are particularly active in the field, with the communities, in the fight against HIV-AIDS.

A few days ago, on May 21, Italy co-hosted the Global Health Summit together with the EU Commission, in the context of the Italian G20 Presidency. On that occasion, the Rome Declaration of Principles on pandemic Preparedness and Response was adopted. HIV/AIDS – well before the COVID-19 pandemic – has starkly revealed the interconnected nature of health security within and between nations.

This is why multilateralism and coordination are key to achieve global health security – leaving no one behind.

Thank you for your attention.