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Iran to end HIV epidemic in country by 2030

11 June 2016 12:47

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Iran’s representative to UN said Fri. the Islamic Republic has adopted a national strategy designed to end the AIDS epidemic in the country by 2030.

Gholamali Khoshroo, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations at the United Nations High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS outlined Iran’s AIDS response programs, saying “the Islamic Republic of Iran is one of the quite few countries in the MENA and the Persian Gulf region which has established a robust surveillance system and provides regularly updated information about the situation of HIV epidemic and its response.”

He went on to add that the country has successfully implemented an extensive and effective harm reduction program, and has thus been able to control HIV transmission among injecting drug users.

“Iran has recently adopted a national strategy that incorporates the 90-90-90 targets and is designed to end the AIDS epidemic in the country by 2030,” he said.

The full text of his speech which he delivered on behalf of Iran’s Minister of Health Hassan Hashemi is as follows:

“Mr. President,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, I would like to thank the President of the General Assembly for organizing this important High Level Meeting. I also recognize and appreciate the role played by the distinguished permanent Representatives of Switzerland and Zambia for leading the consultations resulted in a new Political Declaration.

I would like to take this opportunity as well to emphasize the importance of a comprehensive yet effective response to HIV/AIDS epidemic, through which our commitments translate into meaningful actions.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has been widely and repeatedly acknowledged for its pragmatic approach and response to the HIV epidemic. I.R. Iran has successfully implemented with the broad participation of civil society organizations, an extensive and effective harm reduction program, at both closed and community settings and has thus been able to control HIV transmission among injecting drug users. However, proportion of other modes of transmission are showing growth. Accordingly, the AIDS response in Iran is evolving to address the next wave of HIV infection, through a more comprehensive approach which calls for a more coordinated and multi-sectoral response.

Islamic Republic of Iran cognizant of the significance of relevant scientific evidence, and reflecting on its commitment to an evidence-based response that is culturally appropriate and sensitive, has recently adopted a national strategy that incorporates the 90-90-90 targets and is designed to end the AIDS epidemic in the country by 2030. Drawing from the lessons learned following more than thirty years of success in its primary healthcare program, Iran is of the view that the HIV response to be successful, should be integrated within the existing primary healthcare structure, while engaging the full range of relevant partners in the response, and rigorously using quality strategic information to continuously improve the scope and quality of the national program.

Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen,

Allocated investment by the Government, especially for most-at-risk populations, is the prominent indicator of Iran’s commitment to HIV/AIDS response. More than ninety-five percent of HIV expenditure is born by domestic resources and the Government has plans to spend even more in the future. Yet, the Islamic Republic of Iran acknowledges the critical and strategic contribution of international partners, notably the UNAIDS and the Global Fund, to the national HIV response.  It is hoped that following the Iran Deal and in the interest of the HIV/AIDS response, transfer of knowledge, technology and expertise be more available and facilitated. Iran is welcoming international collaboration for decreasing the costs of treatment, improving access to prevention, care and treatment, and universal health coverage towards achievement of 90-90-90 goals.

The Islamic Republic of Iran remains committed to the health and dignity of people living with HIV. In line with the national strategy, and as part of the national AIDS program, Iran will strive to bridge the testing and treatment gaps over the next few years. The recently launched Health Transformation Program provides a lens through which the national HIV response will concentrate on locations and populations with the greatest need, namely cities and their outskirts, thereby accelerating progress towards our ultimate goal of ending the AIDS epidemic.

Dear Colleagues,

Ultimately, success of the global AIDS response lies in the effective leadership and collaboration at national, regional and international levels. In the Middle East and North Africa region, we are tragically reminded every day that HIV is competing for attention and resources against other pressing issues including those raised by poverty, hunger, emergencies and conflicts. Yet, we cannot miss this critical window of opportunity to end the epidemic in our region, and our world. The Islamic Republic of Iran is one of the quite few countries in the MENA and the Persian Gulf region which has established a robust surveillance system and provides regularly updated information about the situation of the epidemic and its response.

I.R. of Iran is ready and willing to share its experiences in HIV control and harm reduction with interested countries especially through south-south initiatives and international knowledge hubs.

In conclusion, we renew once again our commitment to help ending the HIV epidemic by 2030, and welcome the prospect of greater collaboration that advances this highly important component of the Sustainable Development Goals.

I thank you for your attention.”

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