Azad leading Indian delegation to UN meet on AIDS

New Delhi: Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad will leading the Indian delegation to the three-day UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on AIDS beginning today.

The meeting, which will conclude on June 10, is aimed at taking stock of the progress and challenges of the last 30 years and shaping the future AIDS response.

The High Level Meeting on AIDS is taking place 10 years after the historic 2001 United Nations Special Session on HIV/AIDS, and the 2006 signing of the Political Declaration where UN Member States committed to moving towards universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.

On the final day, UN Member States are expected to adopt a declaration which will guide country responses to HIV over the next five years.

Intellectual Property Rights will also be a key issue in the meeting as the European Union and the US have sought changes in the draft declaration that talks about flexible IPR laws for low-cost production of AIDS medicines, a position supported by India.

"We need a response to HIV that is grounded in human rights and one which promotes equality and equity. Achieving this will open the way to a world free from HIV," said Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

Meanwhile, UNAIDS also welcomed the UN Security Council adopting a resolution calling for increased efforts by UN Member States to address HIV in peacekeeping missions.