Menu ENN Search

Global crisis – global action: an international effort to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS

Alarmed by the accelerating epidemic and its global impact, the United Nations General Assembly convened a special session on HIV/AIDS at the highest political level (UNGASS). Held between the 25th to 27th June 2001 in New York the overall aim of the special session was to intensify international action to fight the epidemic and to mobilise the resources needed. Acknowledging that the response has so far been a fraction of what is needed , Dr. Peter Piot, Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) stated that "the real task now, is to increase, massively, the political will, resources, systems and social commitment needed to turn the tide of the epidemic."

Delegates from over 180 countries included representatives from the UN, Heads of State, government ministries, the World Bank, International NGOs, academic institutions, AIDS activists, leading experts and the private sector came together and through interactive Round Table groups tackled the following issues : i) Prevention and care, ii) HIV/AIDS and human rights, iii) Socio-economic impact of the epidemic and the strengthening of national capacities to combat HIV/AIDS and iv) International funding and cooperation.

The outcome

The meeting ended with member states adopting the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS "Global Crisis - Global Action". This document examines strategies and issues including; leadership, prevention, HIV/AIDS and human rights, reducing vulnerability, and HIV/AIDS in conflict and disaster affected regions.

It was acknowledged that prevention of HIV infection must be the mainstay of the national, regional and international response to the epidemic; but that prevention, care, support and treatment for those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS are mutually reinforcing elements of an effective response and must be integrated in a comprehensive approach to combat the epidemic.


17 July 2001 - The UNAIDS Secretariat and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have concluded a Memorandum of Understanding for a cooperation agreement. The MOU will provide a clear framework for the complementary roles which can be played by IFAD and UNAIDS. By combining their efforts, both parties aim to alleviate the impact of HIV and AIDS on rural poverty and insecure livelihoods, and to reduce vulnerability to AIDS through sustainable rural development."

22 July 2001 - The "Group of Eight" summit ended in Genoa, Italy, with world leaders committing US$1.3 billion to the global AIDS and health fund. Calling HIV/AIDS "a common enemy that knows no frontiers and threatens all people".

Note: All information, statements and documents relating to the UN General Assembly Special Session can be found at website


The facts

More than 21 million people have died of AIDS since the1980s, over 75% of them in sub- Saharan Africa.

Some 36million people are currently infected with the HIV virus- over 25 million of them in Africa -and most of them do not know it.

In 16 countries, more than 10% of adults, aged 15-49, are infected with the HIV virus.

In 7 countries, all in southern Africa, at least one adult in five is living with HIV.

In the most affected countries, half of all 15- year-olds alive today will eventually die of the disease, even if infection rates drop in the next few years.

If infection rates remain high, more than twothirds of these young people will die of AIDS.

More than 13 million children have been orphaned by AIDS, and that figure may reach 30 million before the end of the decade.

AIDS is having a serious impact on many societies and economies, destroying the hard won development gains that have been made in recent years.

Countries like Brazil, Thailand and Uganda have shown that strong national plans, social openness and community participation can indeed reverse spiralling infection rates.

More like this

FEX: Cotrimoxazole as a Prophylaxis for HIV Positive Malnourished Children

Summary of review1 By Susan Thurstans, AAH Susan Thurstans is the HIV adviser with Action Against Hunger (AAH), based in Malawi Thanks to Amador Gomez, Technical Advisor,...

FEX: Linkages between HIV/AIDS and food insecurity

A review The April 2001 Greater Horn of Africa Food Security Update presents the most recently available regional data on the HIV/AIDS pandemic. It reviews linkages between...

FEX: On the ground perceptions of WFP food assistance and PMTCT in Zambia

Summary of a qualitative study1 By Pamela Fergusson The risk of mother to child transmission is approx 40% in Zambia Pamela Fergusson is a dietitian/nutritionist whose...

FEX: The effects of HIV on Botswana’s development progress

By Siddharth Krishnaswamy Siddharth was a part of the Vulnerability & Mapping Unit (VAM) of the WFP. Prior to this he worked for an international NGO in Northern Uganda. He...

FEX: HIV/AIDS Home Based Care in Zimbabwe

By Hisham Khogali Hisham Khogali is currently the Senior Food Security Officer of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. Prior to this, Hisham worked...

FEX: World Health Organisation Admits Targets on AIDS Drugs May be Unrealistic

In its World Health report 2004, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said that AIDS was the leading single cause of death among adults aged 15-59 around the world and that in...

FEX: Regional Consultation on Nutrition and HIV in South East Asia

A regional consultation on nutrition and HIV in South East Asia was held in Bangkok, 8-11 October 2007. Represenatives of countries from the region, together with scientists,...

FEX: References for Special Supplement 2

Livelihood activities in South Sudan 1. World Health Organisation (WHO), Management of Severe Malnutrition: A manual for physicians and other senior health workers. Geneva:...

FEX: Adequacy of Replacement Milks for Infants of HIV-Infected Mothers

Summary of published research1 Feeding recommendations for infants of infected HIV-mothers in developing countries remain controversial. As HIV can be transmitted to the infant...

FEX: Infant Feeding Alternatives for HIV Positive Mothers in Kenya

By Tom Oguta, Abiud Omwega and Jaswant Sehmi Tom Oguta is currently a PhD student of Nutrition at the University of Nairobi. He has worked as a Research Officer at KIRDI...

FEX: Counselling on infant feeding choice: Some practical realities from South Africa

By Tanya Doherty (pictured), Mickey Chopra and Mike Colvin Tanya is currently a senior scientist at the Health Systems Trust and Medical Research Council in Capetown, South...

FEX: WFP HIV/AIDS Programming in Malawi

By Jeremy Shoham, ENN Households headed by the elderly may be vulnerable This article was written based on a WFP consultation to Malawi in February 2005. The WFP Malawi...

FEX: Appropriateness of Replacement Milks in South Africa

Summary of published paper1 Feeding recommendations for infants of HIV-infected mothers in developing countries remain controversial. The World Health Organisation (WHO)...

FEX: Integration of CTC with strategies to address HIV/AIDS (Special Supplement 2)

By Paluku Bahwere, Saul Guerrero, Kate Sadler & Steve Collins (Valid International) The district health officer of Dowa, Malawi, briefs clinic and community workers about the...

FEX: Letters

Dear ENN, If there is one thing that we have learnt from the current Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak it is that regardless of infection status, Ebola comes bringing bad...

FEX: Integrating CTC and HIV/AIDS Support in Malawi

By Saul Guerrero, Paluku Bahwere, Kate Sadler, and Steve Collins, Valid International Saul Guerrero is a Social and Community Development Advisor. Dr. Paluku Bahwere (PhD) is...

FEX: WFP policy on HIV/AIDS

A policy document, 'Programming in the era of AIDS : WFP's response to AIDS/HIV', submitted in February 2003 to the World Food Programme (WFP) Executive board1 has been...

FEX: HIV and Infant Feeding: A Programme Challenge

By Joanne Csete, Regional Programme Planning Officer UNICEF Regional Office for Eastern and Southern Africa Among the greatest programme challenges of recent years for United...

FEX: Evolution of a Crisis: a Save the Children UK perspective

By Mark Wright Mark Wright was the Save the Children Programme Officer for Southern Africa from November 2000 to November 2002. This article details Save the Children UK's...

FEX: Role of intestinal dysfunction in the nutritional compromise seen in human immunodeficiency virus-infected adults in rural India

Research snapshot1 Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease progression is often marked by enteropathy, which contributes to malabsorption of macro- and micro-nutrients and...


Reference this page

Global crisis – global action: an international effort to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS. Field Exchange 13, August 2001. p11.



Download to a citation manager

The below files can be imported into your preferred reference management tool, most tools will allow you to manually import the RIS file. Endnote may required a specific filter file to be used.