Since its formation in 1996, initiated by people such as doctor Peter Piot, the Joint United Nations Program for Combating HIV and AIDS (known as UNAIDS), coordinates the efforts of 11 different UN organisations (UNHCR, UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, ILO, UNESCO, WFP, WHO, UNWOMEN and the World Bank). Today, AIDS is still the main cause of death for adolescents in Africa and the second highest cause of death in the world. Despite the tremendous improvement in live-saving treatments, prevention remains the only sustainable way to win this fight.

UNAIDS does not only consider HIV and AIDS as a health problem but also as a social phenomenon. UNAIDS strongly advocates an approach involving various sectors as education, justice, industry and agriculture. It also advocates a rigorous human rights approach. People with HIV and AIDS or with an increased risk of infection such as sex workers or drug users, must be more active and directly involved in policy making. And finally, UNAIDS strongly believes in prevention.

Annually, Flanders donates 750.000 euro to UNAIDS. One third of this amount goes to the General Secretariat in Geneva for the day to day functioning of the program. Two thirds is used to support the 8 most affected countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Flanders is consistently present within the board of directors of UNAIDS.

With this support, Flanders contributes to the improvement of sexual and reproductive health in the region of Flanders’ development cooperation focus in Southern Africa, and to the promotion of human rights in this region and worldwide.