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Statement by Estonia, Coordination and Management Meeting, Economic and Social Council, July 7, 2017

07.07.2017

Thank you, Madame Chair,
Dear Colleagues,
Estonia pays great attention to prevention and control of HIV/AIDS. Years ago, it was an existential challenge for many countries. Today we can effectively control this devastating disease, and for that, we commend the work done by UNAIDS and WHO, and other stakeholders and donors.

However, we are deeply concerned that, despite the progress made, critical challenges remain. Severe discrimination and stigmas still exist and there is a lot to be improved while keeping the leaving no one behind principle in the centre of action.

Against this background, I would like to address some specific elements we need to focus on, in order to tackle the challenges of the HIV/AIDS epidemic effectively.

 1.    Awareness about one’s infection. Testing and early diagnosis allows for effective care and continuing active participation in social and family life, as well as in work life. We shall not leave anyone behind.

 2.    Non-compliance to treatment is a serious problem and huge waste of resources. Community based approach and advocacy are crucial here.

3.    We need novel and innovative approaches, developed in public-private cooperation. In Estonia we have such innovative digital approaches, for example hINF, which allows HIV positive patients to securely connect with their doctor and the rest of the care team. Via the platform, patients can receive their test results, discuss health matters with their doctor and ask for digital prescriptions or for medical certificates. We also need to make better use of existing biomedical discoveries and integrate them into patient care.

4.    We must address further the matter of co-infections, especially among the vulnerable and key population segments. For example, tuberculosis and HIV build especially high burden, and in Europe, there are several diseases on the rise again, for example: Shigella infections and Hepatitis A.

5.    Effective graduation from donor-based financing of HIV/AIDS response. In EEG – only Estonia and Croatia are regarded to have graduated successfully. We need to invest more on behalf of our governments.

To conclude, Estonia welcomes the report and the resolution, and reiterates its full commitment to tackle the challenges posed by the HIV/AIDS.

Thank you!

 

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