The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has welcomed a new United Nations (U.N.) Security Council resolution on HIV, adopted at the on-going special UN Security Council in New York, that calls for increased efforts by U.N. Member States to address HIV in peacekeeping missions. It also calls for HIV prevention efforts among uniformed services to be aligned with efforts to end sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict settings.

The resolution builds on the previous U.N. Security Council resolution 1308, which was adopted in 2000. The new resolution calls on the United Nations and U.N. Member States to bolster global and regional partnerships and integrate comprehensive HIV programmes into efforts to prevent conflict, ensure security and build peace.

The resolution recognises that HIV can have a uniquely devastating impact on all sectors and levels of society and in conflict and post-conflict situations, these impacts may be felt more profoundly. It also recognises that conditions of violence and instability in conflict and post-conflict situations can exacerbate the spread of HIV because of displacement, conflict-related sexual violence and reduced access to HIV services.

Since the adoption of resolution 1308 in 2000, progress has been made in addressing HIV and security. About 60 per cent of UN Member States have integrated HIV programmes for military, police and other uniformed personnel. However the quality of programmes is variable and resources to fund the programmes are often insufficient.

“Peacekeepers can play a leading role in HIV prevention as they secure peace around the world,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “Uniformed personnel can act as agents of positive change, particularly in relation to preventing sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict situations.”

Evidence shows that the threat AIDS poses to peace and security is far more nuanced than initially thought. Both the characteristics of conflict and the epidemic itself have evolved significantly over the past 10 years with sexual violence being increasingly used as a tactic of war. Addressing this requires a broadening and strengthening of HIV programmes for peacekeepers to ensure an effective response to HIV and sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict settings.

Reinvigorated efforts around a new HIV security agenda will be instrumental in addressing the impact of AIDS on peace and security. UNAIDS will work with member states to scale-up access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support for all uniformed services, including police, immigration, prison and the navy, to prevent HIV and end violence against women and girls.

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