The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) is an international agency composed of ten UN system organizations, with a main goal of unifying their global AIDS response. The member organizations of the UNAIDS include the UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank. This unified programme agency is based in Geneva, Switzerland, but it implements its work in approximately 75 countries around the world. The global response of UNAIDS is to commit itself and act for the stoppage and reversal of the spread of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Member countries of the United Nations, of approximately 189 in number, have declared in 2001 to adopt the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS, 2006a). They recognize that the AIDS epidemic is a global emergency causing alarming challenges to human life and dignity. This declaration consists of ten areas of prime importance, which includes prevention measures, treatment options, as well as funding opportunities. It aims to achieve its Millennium Development Goal of eradicating HIV/AIDS by 2015.
It has been determined that countries require strong and robust policies on social, political, cultural, medical, health and economic issues, in order to direct a country’s response against HIV. These actions are also important in developing effective and efficient programmes. The advocacy for policy guidance on HIV has been actively been exercised by the UNAIDS, in order to create a vision and specific regulations to policymakers, planners and advocates at all levels of every country involved in this global effort.
The UNAIDS programme thus provides two major clusters of policies. The first policy enumerates the commitments made by each country’s government, and its inter-governmental actions. This includes the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action, which is also known as the 1994 Cairo Consensus, which has been already adopted by approximately 179 governments in different countries. The second cluster is comprised of technical policies that have been designed by the UNAIDS.
This cluster follows a number of basic principles, such as the dissemination of the basic principles and standards for national AIDS policies, including those at the state and local levels. It is involves the distribution of information-based evidence and best practices that have been comprehensively collected from different sources. In addition, this cluster is designed based on a methodical process that discusses issues with other groups that make up the programme, such as external and internal offices to the UNAIDS and other technical groups.
The UNAIDS has catalogued a controlled list of keywords that can precisely reflect the range of areas that are associated with the HIV/AIDS epidemic, as well as the UN system procedures that attempt to fight the global disease. Under the category of prevention, the keywords treatment and care, keywords include access to care, support and treatment, behavior change, blood safety, confidentiality and security, education, communication, psychological support, stigma and discrimination are included.
Under the category of affected communities, keywords such as children, indigenous people, prisons, migrants, refugees, rural communities, mother-to-child transmission, and sex workers and clients are listed. As for the category of research, the keywords biomedical research, microbicides and vaccines are enumerated. And under the category of impact of HIV, the keywords emergencies, HIV and conflict, HIV and security, HIV in the workplace, human rights, socio-demographic impact and health systems reform are included.