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26 May 2015 - 15:30

GENEVA, 21 May 2015—The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) would like to call attention to the urgent and compelling case for the international community to take all measures possible to protect the health of people living in least-developed countries (LDCs).The proposal was put forward by Bangladesh on behalf of the LDCs group and is now before the WTO TRIPS Council. It requests an extension of the period under which LDCs are exempt from applying protections for pharmaceutical related patents and clinical data. The current waiver is due to expire in January 2016.

“Millions of people rely on access to affordable, assured quality generic medicines,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “WTO Members have before them a critical opportunity to help least-developed countries to reach health and sustainable development goals—failure to support them could put millions of lives at risk.”

22 May 2015 - 10:33

New Zimbabwe Agencies

ZIMBABWE’S condom usage now tops that of any other country in the world, with over 109 million condoms used in 2014.The safe sex practices have helped the country lower the number of HIV infections, according to data collected by the state-run National Aids Council (NAC) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).“We are the highest consumers of condoms in the world currently, that is why we have realised a reduction in HIV infection rates,” Amon Mpofu, NAC’s director of monitoring and evaluating, told News24 in South Africa on Thursday.“We had 104 million male condoms and 5.2 million female condoms distributed in 2014 alone.” HIV infections in Zimbabwe were cut in half for adults from 2009 to 2015, and by 30 percent among children from 2010 to 2015.

21 May 2015 - 12:14

Without addressing HIV among marginalized populations and human rights, it will not be possible to end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030, according to experts at a World Health Assembly side event.

A high-level panel, which included UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé, called on health ministers to pledge to remove structural barriers to accessing HIV services and health care for all. The speakers also stressed the need for political commitment to leave no one behind. Ensuring that marginalized populations are not excluded from the universal health coverage target of the next sustainable development goals will be vital, they noted.

According to the participants, there is a risk that countries could seek to advance progress towards universal health coverage by focusing on easier to reach populations. In order to ensure that no one is left behind, measures will be needed to reduce the discrimination facing all marginalized groups and to ensure their meaningful participation in the development and implementation of health strategies.

The event set the stage for further dialogue among ministers of health to promote sharing of experiences on securing access to HIV services and health care for all.

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