During the 39th meeting of the Francophone Parliamentary Assembly (APF), parliamentarians from across the Francophone world met from 9 to 12 July in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire to discuss the meeting’s theme of “Parliaments at the heart of nation building”.
High on the agenda for parliamentarians, were issues on inclusion and equal protection as fundamental building blocks to stable societies and sustainable development.
Bringing lessons learned from the AIDS response, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé stressed the importance of ensuring social inclusion, “We must address the human dimension of the HIV epidemic, end discrimination and ensure access to services for women and girls, prisoners, migrants, sex workers, people who inject drugs and men who have sex with men.”
His thoughts were echoed by the Secretary General of the APF, Jacques Legendre, “Unequal access to medicines for people living with HIV around the globe is intolerable.”
Adding to the inclusion message the Francophone Youth Parliament, noted the need to strengthen education on HIV prevention and place human rights at the centre of efforts to end the epidemic.
In spite of recent progress, the HIV response in low- and middle-income countries that are members of International Organisation of La Francophonie (IOF) has not shown the same results as that of other countries. In 2011, HIV treatment coverage in IOF countries in sub-Saharan Africa was 43% compared to 59% in non-IOF countries in the region.