UNODC, a co-sponsor of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), is the lead agency in the UNAIDS family for HIV and AIDS prevention and care among injecting drug users and in prison settings. UNODC is also responsible for facilitating the development of a United Nations response to HIV and AIDS associated with human trafficking. The focus of the work of UNODC in these areas is to assist States in implementing large-scale and wide-ranging interventions to prevent HIV infections and in providing care and support to people living with HIV and AIDS.

UNODC is mainstreaming HIV and AIDS into its activities at the national, regional and global evels, and is helping States and civil society organizations to develop and implement comprehensive HIV and AIDS prevention and care programmes for injecting drug users.

UNODC also provides support to countries in developing and implementing HIV and AIDS prevention and care programmes in prison settings. This includes pretrial detention centres and closed institutions for juveniles in conflict with the law. UNODC is the custodian of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and assists States in implementing international standards and United Nations  resolutions that demand that all inmates have the right to receive health care, including HIV and AIDS prevention and care, without discrimination and equivalent to that available in the community.

In addition, UNODC is strengthening the ability of States to provide essential HIV and AIDS prevention and care services to persons vulnerable to human trafficking.

Young people and women who are also injecting drug users and/or in prison settings and/or persons vulnerable to human trafficking are among the most vulnerable groups within the mandate of UNODC,  and specific interventions are being put in place to help protect these people.

What is being done:

One of the most important lessons learned from two decades of work on HIV and AIDS is that prevention and care interventions need to be comprehensive and multisectoral to address the needs of often very diverse vulnerable populations. Projects using single and standalone interventions have little impact. Prevention and care have to go hand-in-hand and large-scale initiatives, such as those in the Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS,  which was adopted by the General Assembly in 2006 (resolution 60/262), set the example.

In order to reverse the trends of existing HIV and AIDS epidemics and to prevent a new wave of epidemics,  interventions must be comprehensive, based on evidence and scaled-up immediately. There is no time to lose and no need for pilot projects among injecting drug users and prison populations. Only if services reach the most vulnerable people can epidemics be prevented, halted and, in the best of cases, reversed.

In the field:

UNODC has more than 60 staff members in 28 countries working on HIV-related issues. A team based at UNODC headquarters in Vienna supports the work of advisers posted in countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, in South and South-East Asia, in Africa and in Latin America and the Caribbean.

UNODC, a co-sponsor of UNAIDS since 1999

UNAIDS brings together in the AIDS response the efforts and resources of 10 entities of the United Nations system. Based in Geneva, the UNAIDS secretariat works on the ground in more than 75 countries.

Established in 1994 by a resolution of the Economic and Social Council and launched in January 1996, UNAIDS is guided by a Programme Coordinating Board with representatives of 22 Governments from all regions and five representatives of non-governmental organizations, including associations of people living with HIV/AIDS.

The 10 UNAIDS co-sponsoring organizations, which together form the Committee of Cosponsoring Organizations, are:

The Committee of Cosponsoring Organizations meets annually.

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