PM Rugunda with UNAIDS Country Director Bungudu at OPM  on Thursday( PMPU Photo)PRESS RELEASE

The Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda has left for New York, United States of America (USA), to represent President Yoweri Museveni at a high-level meeting on HIV/AIDS convened by the UN General Assembly at the United Nations Headquarters.

The meeting slated for 8 to 10 June 2016, will bring together world leaders, government representatives, HIV programme implementers and civil society organizations from across the world, to chart the way forward to ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Speaking prior to the high level meeting, Rugunda said the fight against HIV/AIDS requires a concerted effort of all people without discrimination, adding that the country was more focused on ending the HIV/AIDS scourge.

Dr Rugunda is expected to make a statement in the plenary and also chair a panel discussion on HIV/AIDS treatment. This panel will address the critical issue of scaling up and sustaining access to treatment for all people living with HIV.

The High level meeting  will undertake a comprehensive review of the progress achieved in realizing the 2001 Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS and the 2006 and 2011 Political Declarations on HIV/AIDS.

The meeting will adopt a concise and action-oriented declaration as its outcome, to be agreed upon by Member States, to guide and monitor the HIV/AIDS response beyond 2015, towards achieving the commitment of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

The Government of Uganda in partnership with Development Partners, Civil Society, religious leaders and cultural leaders has made tremendous strides in combating the HIV and AIDS epidemic since the last Political Declaration High Level Meeting of 2011.

Some of the achievements registered include the reduction of the number of new HIV infections from 162,000 in 2011 to 83,000 by December, 2015. In addition, the number of persons on antiretroviral treatment has increased from 329,000 in 2011 to about 850,000 by close of 2015.

The New York high-level meeting will comprise plenary meetings and up to five thematic panel discussions, which will include opportunities for civil society participation.

The opening plenary meeting will feature statements by the President of the UN General Assembly, the UN Secretary-General, the Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), a person openly living with HIV and an eminent person actively engaged in the response to HIV/AIDS.