8 April 2011 – As representatives of civil society and the private sector met with governments today to discuss how to advance the response to HIV/AIDS ahead of a high-level meeting in June, United Nations officials lauded the vital role played by non-governmental actors in tackling the epidemic.
“The engagement of civil society and the private sector is indispensable in holding governments accountable, in ensuring that the AIDS response respects human rights, and in advocating for the creation of legal and social environments that protect people from infection and support social justice,” General Assembly President Joseph Deiss said at the start of the civil society hearing held at UN Headquarters.
Today’s meeting will inform discussions at the High-Level Meeting on AIDS, which will be convened by the General Assembly from 8 to 10 June in New York. The participants include people living with HIV as well as those representing segments of the population most affected by the epidemic.
Mr. Deiss emphasized that the response to AIDS must include – at all levels – people living with, and affected by, HIV. “Their perspective and experience are unique and have provided a wellspring of insight and breakthroughs,” he said, noting in particular that civil society’s involvement in today’s hearing should help boost effort to overcome stigma and discrimination.
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