HIGH-LEVEL MEETING ON THE COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW OF THE PROGRESS ACHIEVED IN REALIZING THE DECLARATION OF COMMITMENT ON HIV/AIDS AND THE POLITICAL DECLARATION ON HIV/AIDS
STATEMENT BY DR. MARINA KOSACOFF UNDER SECRETARY FOR PREVENTION AND RISK CONTROL OF THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH OF
Mr. Secretary-General of the United Nations,
Honourable Presidents and dignitaries,
Ladies and gentlemen,
1. Argentina is firmly committed to the promotion and protection of human rights. That is why we promote health as a right for all its citizens, an essential element for development than must be guaranteed.
2. We are willing to be a responsible State, leading the participation of all actors in building a more just society. We, therefore, reaffirm all the international commitments we have made.
3. Our country has made significant progress in relation to the response to the epidemic of HIV and AIDS, in respect of the goals agreed at the moment.
4. There are now about 130.00 people living with HIV in Argentina. The provision of treatment is free, having 43.000 patients under treatment, 70% of which receive medications directly from the National Ministry of Health.
5. In recent years, the epidemiological curve of new infections is stabilized and mortality from AIDS continues to decrease with a drop of 15% over the past 5 years.
6. Thirty years after the beginning of the epidemic and twenty since the appearance of the first antiretroviral in many countries of Latin America, the offer of universal treatment is guaranteed, which doesn’t mean that the access to it is also granted.
7. Ensuring accessibility to health services involves developing strategies to reduce barriers, assuming the commitment to effective, specific and human rights-based prevention. Therefore, we have implemented an education program with comprehensive prevention, including HIV and sexual and reproductive health services for all populations including people living with HIV, women, children, young people, sex workers and their clients, people of transgender identity, gay, men who have sex with men, people living in prison, drug users, indigenous communities and migrants.
8. In this sense, the equal marriage law, between persons of the same sex, where Argentina is a pioneer in the region, is a significant step towards the recognition of these rights. This year, the Senate is also discussing a series of initiatives on gender identity laws which will consequently facilitate access to health of transvestite, transsexual and transgender populations, as well as other legislative proposals involving the use of drugs.
9. None of the above would have been possible without the joint work with civil society organizations, in particularly with people living with HIV, who have been motors and promoters of this response.
10. There’s much left to be done and our look cannot remain in the accomplishments but in the way that both Argentina and our brother nations of Latin America have ahead. We call on the continued collaboration among countries, sharing experiences, working at our borders, assisting each other to ensure the continued provision of drugs in each country, jointly negotiating their prices for the region and urging the international donor agencies to turn their eyes on a continent that needs help to achieve the goals set for 2015 by the Millennium Development Goals.
11. We are certain that to ensure universal access it is necessary to continue the actions that we are currently carrying out at the country, regional and global level. We believe that it is important that developing countries and least developed countries be able to make full use of the flexibilities contained in the TRIPS Agreements. We also stress the importance of an effective implementation of the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health, in particular the importance of paragraph 4 by which the Ministers agreed that "the TRIPS Agreement does not prevent and must not prevent members from taking measures to protect public health". We deem it essential that international organizations competent in this field provide relevant technical assistance to developing countries and LDCs. Also, we advocate for the effective implementation of the Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property of the World Health Organization.
We call on international organizations, to continue contributing to the achievements in the region.
Us, Latin America, we need you and we have much to contribute.
Misión Permanente Argentina ante las Naciones Unidas