If the Asia-Pacific region wants to achieve zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths by 2015, parliamentarians need to be fully involved as stakeholders in all efforts.
That’s the view of leading parliamentarian advocacy group, the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development, as 5000 delegates arrive in Bangkok to work to eliminate HIV/AIDS deaths and prejudice while promoting prevention.
“In this region, there are an estimated 4.9 million people living with HIV, but no-one should be dying from AIDS anymore – zero deaths by 2015 is achievable,” said AFPPD Deputy Director John Hyde.
“We have the medicine and we have the skill to enable all people in our region to live healthy lives, with or without HIV/AIDS.
“What we lack is equity of access to resources to keep people living healthy lives.
“Parliamentarians need to be engaged in eliminating the discrimination that keeps at-risk people from accessing available HIV/AIDS services free from discrimination.
“Parliamentarians need to be exercising their leadership role to ensure that financial resources and capacity are provided by governments and international agencies so as those most vulnerable can obtain the equal quality treatment that medicine and money can readily provide.
“Parliamentarians need to be at the forefront of strengthening the political commitment for the comprehensive sexuality education for young people that leads to HIV/AIDS prevention.”
From November 18-22, parliamentarians will join around 5000 health care professionals, public policy leaders, community advocates, activists, researchers, journalists and people living with HIV (PLHIV) from 22 countries in the region as well as Africa, America and Europe at the 11th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP11), the world’s second largest forum on HIV/AIDS.
AFPPD and the UNAIDS will mobilise champion parliamentarians from across the region at ICAAP11 in a parliamentarian session on “Parliamentarian Best Policy Practices on Achievement of Universal Access to Reproductive Health and HIV/AIDS Health Care for People Left Behind in the Asia and the Pacific” to strengthen their leadership role in a human rights-based policy approach to triple zero.
Fiji President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, a former AFPPD executive member, will launch the parliamentarians’ ICAAP campaign at a media conference on November 19 at 11am at the AFPPD/IPPF booth at ICAAP.