48th PCB - Intervention by Iwatutu Joyce Adewole - Agenda item 10: Thematic Segment - COVID-19 and HIV: sustaining HIV gains and building back better and fairer HIV responses

Delivered by Iwatutu Joyce Adewole, Africa, on behalf of the NGO Delegation

Thank you, Chair.

I speak on behalf of the NGO Delegation.

Over the last 40 years, the world has battled the HIV epidemic as a public health threat. We have rocked the ribbon together, contributing necessary aid and funding to help mitigate the effects on our communities.

But what if an emergency pandemic breaks out, killing millions of people and causing more havoc on millions more? We are not going to let it reverse the progress already made.

Two major effects the COVID-19 has had on the HIV response: Funding and Inequalities.

To combat the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of resources were and is still needed. With HIV being deprioritized and donor funding dwindling in the last several years, programs that had previously demonstrated to be necessary and beneficial, such as HIV treatment and prevention, SRHR programmes, human rights advocacy, and providing protection for those at risk among others, have suffered.

Member states can have and take time to debate and agree on language and decision points for days, while 4500 girls and women in Sub Saharan Africa get infected every week. It is safe to say that the pandemic has sent us a step back in the HIV response. As members of the NGO Delegation, we urge the Joint Programme and other donor agencies to adequately support and fund both the COVID-19 and HIV response that emphasise public health, rights-based approaches, and community-led.

I thank you.

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