We would like to make a comment about the situation with funding under UBRAF for the regions of Middle East and North Africa and Southern Eastern and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, as well as the Caribbean region.
MENA region as well as countries of Southern-Eastern Europe epidemic among PUD is continue to rapidly escalate, for example prevalence of more than 30% among PUD in North of Morocco. Decreasing commitment of international donors to these countries and reduced UNAIDS activity over the last years is unacceptable.This will lead to the missed opportunity to prevent new infections among key populations in those forgotten regions.
As for the Eastern Europe and Central Asia, it remains the only region in the world with growing HIV infection rates. The commitment of the various Governments’ to supporting HIV prevention programs for key populations – i.e. people who use drugs (PUD), sex workers and men who sex with men (MSM) – remains low. This neglect results in legislative barriers to (widespread) access to effective HIV prevention programs such as opioid substitution therapy (OST) and needle syringe programs (NSP), as well as a significant absence of state funding for HIV prevention among MARPs.
Despite this issue, only two Eastern European countries – Russia and Ukraine – are currently considered UNAIDS priority countries. In the meantime, HIV prevalence among people who use drugs is 20% in Minsk (Belarus) and 40% in Beltsy (Moldova), which is comparable with the rates in Russia and Ukraine. We believe that the epidemiological situation in these, and a number of other, countries in the region calls for UNAIDS to more actively participate in the regional response and ultimately, to include these countries in its list of priority countries.
We are currently witnessing a restructuring of UNAIDS offices in the region; as such we cannot be certain that this restructuring will not result in further, decreased involvement of UNAIDS in country processes.
Finally, it will be very important to remember the PCB delegates that funds for civil society working on HIV continue to decline, undermining the capacity of communities to work towards the 3 zeros goals. Therefore, we would like to see more action towards having reflected in the UBRAF the decision points that came out from the 30 PCB “Requests UNAIDS to propose ways forward and options to address the documented decreases in funding especially affecting developing countries and to support Member States’ and civil society’s capability to meet the goals laid out in the 2011 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS and the HIV-related Millennium Development Goals by 2015