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The UN Declaration on the Eradication of AIDS should have been simple. There was not.

On Tuesday, the United Nations adopted a new goal to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. This seems to be a goal that most countries could easily agree on. But the consensus was elusive.

In early negotiations on an agreement called the Political Declaration, the United States and the European Union have fought to blame high-risk groups and even ban criminalizing policies and laws, and have made significant moves to ease patent protection for HIV drugs. It was reduced to.

The United Nations Declaration sets priorities for global AIDS control and guides policies at the national level. It can also be used by health organizations and civil society organizations around the world to pressure governments to keep their promises.

After several days of thorough editing by representatives from some countries and clever negotiations in other countries, Member States accepted the final version of the Declaration on Tuesday morning. The final draft contains an important new goal of reforming discriminatory legislation in most countries. As a result, less than 10% of the world’s countries will take steps to unfairly target people at risk of HIV or living with HIV.

“These laws keep people most affected by HIV away from the prevention and treatment of HIV,” said Matthew Cabana, director of the Global Health Policy and Political Initiative at Georgetown University. “This could be an important tool to get the world back on track to eradicate AIDS.”

On Monday, Dr. Cabana and his colleagues Published new work Countries that criminalize homosexuality, substance use, and sex work have shown less success in eradicating HIV.

However, the declaration does not move the patent protection needle. The United States is one of the countries where representatives have significantly reduced or moved to reduce the word that patents are relaxed to allow access to affordable HIV drugs in low- and middle-income countries, Biden. It was in direct opposition to the administration’s support. The number of Covid vaccine patent waivers.

“Given the recent support for the Covid-19 vaccine’s patent exemption, the various messages from the administration have been confusing and disappointing,” said the director of policy strategy at the Treatment Action Group, a New York advocate. “This is not the first time the United States has prioritized the interests of pharmaceutical companies over people and public health,” said Annette Gaudino.

The United Nations brings together heads of state, health ministers, and NGOs to set priorities for tackling the HIV pandemic every five years. At a similar meeting in 2016, Member States agreed to aim to eliminate less than 500,000 new HIV infections, less than 500,000 AIDS-related deaths, and HIV-related discrimination by 2020.

The world failed to achieve these goals. In 2020, about 1.5 million people were infected with HIV and about 690,000 died.

Ending AIDS by 2030 was an ambitious goal adopted by the United Nations in 2015 and was part of the broader agenda for sustainable development. But without more progressive policies and laws, the goal cannot be achieved, Dr. Cabana said.

“To end AIDS by 2030, the government will take a human-centered, rights-based approach to HIV, work on policy and legal reforms, engage and support the community, and end inequality. We must promise to do so, “Winnie Byanima, Executive Director, Winny Byanima, UNAIDS, said in an email statement.

The first draft of the Declaration dated April 28 contains a promise to end “penal laws, policies and practices, stigma and discrimination based on HIV status, sexual orientation, and gender identity.” I did.

Representatives from several countries, including African groups, China, Russia and Iran, have sought to remove references to sexual or gender identity, or sex education for girls. They were only partially successful. The current text calls for a preventative approach tailored to high-risk groups, including sex workers, men who have sex with men, drug users, and transgender people.

Representatives from African countries assert “the sovereign rights of Member States” and emphasize that the commitments of the Declaration are implemented “in line with domestic law, national development priorities, and international human rights.” Was inserted successfully.About half of the countries Homosexuality is illegal I’m in Africa.

The Declaration, in its current form, urges countries to remove the section “Women and girls empower women and girls to control sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights” that Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the Holy See attempted to remove from the text. I am.

Representatives from Belarus, China and Russia have also removed a section requiring member states to grant citizen autonomy on issues related to sexuality. Their alternative text encouraged “responsible sexual behavior, including abstinence and loyalty.” The final document has been restored to its original text.

Some experts say that including words about high-risk groups is essential to success. Gay men and other men who have sex with men, lethal injections, and women who are sex workers are nearly 30 times more likely to have HIV than the general public.

If these groups do not receive the necessary prophylaxis, clean needles, condoms, or education, they “will erode the potential for actual AIDS eradication by 2030,” long-term HIV-infected individuals said. Defender of the survivors, Eric Sawyer, said.

The early draft of the Declaration also included a long section on relaxation of patent protection. Under current global rules, only 50 least developed countries are allowed to remove drug patents for distribution to citizens.

The draft called for an “indefinite moratorium on international intellectual property provisions for medicines, diagnostics and other health technologies.” Representatives from the United States and Switzerland have deleted that section. “This is not a place to discuss these common issues,” said a representative of the European Union.

The United States has also added wording to the reduced version to recognize “the importance of intellectual property rights systems that contribute to more effective AIDS control.”

Activists said taking a position against patent waivers was perfectly consistent for the European Union, and that the European Union also opposed the waiver of Covid vaccine patents. We have argued that patent protection is essential to drive innovation.

However, citing the urgent need for vaccines, Biden administration officials said they supported a patent waiver that would allow businesses to make cheaper versions of vaccines for the rest of the world.

Given these developments, Brooke Baker, a law professor at Northeastern University and a senior policy analyst at the Health Global Access Project, an advocacy group, opposes easing patent protection for HIV drugs. “It really contradicts the United States.”

“Why does the United States speak out from both sides of what seems to be about the same problem in the world?”

The UN Declaration on the Eradication of AIDS should have been simple. There was not.

Source link The UN Declaration on the Eradication of AIDS should have been simple. There was not.

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