Regional Director presents progress against and challenges of HIV/AIDS in European Region


From left: Igor Ivanovich Shuvalov, First Deputy Prime Minister, Russian Federation; Michel Sidibé, Executive Director, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS); and Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe, address journalists at AIDS conference in Moscow, May 2014.

Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe, addressed the participants in the Fourth Conference on HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECAAC 2014), held in Moscow, Russian Federation on 12–13 May 2014. They included national authorities and experts, and representatives of academe, civil society, communities, United Nations (UN) agencies and other international organizations active in eastern and central Europe.

The Regional Director began her address with an assessment of progress made in implementing the European Action Plan for HIV/AIDS, endorsed in 2011 by all 53 Member States in the WHO European Region.

The many successes included the great strides made towards eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and the increase in coverage of HIV treatment in the Region (from 23% of those in need of treatment in 2010 to 35% in 2012). In low- and middle-income countries in the eastern part of the Region, the latter means that 70 000 more people have access to HIV treatment.

Nevertheless, the Regional Director also emphasized the remaining challenges, sharing concerns about the increase in HIV/AIDS cases and deaths in the Region. She called for immediate and accelerated action engaging all stakeholders. To prevent HIV and halt the spread of the epidemic, she asked every country to adopt and fully implement the evidence-based policies defined in the European Action Plan, with a special focus on reducing harm and scaling up treatment and access to services.
In closing, the Regional Director thanked the Government of the Russian Federation and the organizing committee of EECAAC 2014 for taking the lead in hosting this important regional event.