Thank you Mr President
The Federation makes this statement on behalf of Human Touch Foundation, the PACT and the Sexual Rights Initiative.
We regret that India did not receive any HIV/AIDS-related recommendations, despite India having the third highest prevalence of HIV in the world.
India needs an efficient HIV prevention programme which includes PrEP rollout, improved access to routine HIV screening and testing, and most crucially, treatment and excellent patient care. HIV testing is a crucial entry point for counseling, treatment, and care for individuals living with HIV, particularly for critical adolescent groups such as ALHIVs and high-risk minors like homeless children.
The current provision of services and information for adolescents is inadequate to meet their sexual and reproductive health needs. Barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health services include: restrictive social norms towards adolescent sexuality, HIV-related stigma and discrimination, and insufficient coverage and coordination of health services. India must provide access to comprehensive sexuality education and information, in schools and from other sources for out of school adolescents.
We urgently call on the government to:
- Develop a national PrEP policy, with a detailed plan for the operationalization and roll out of public sector models of PrEP, firstly in priority districts in collaboration- preferably not as a vertical [stand-alone] programme but as part of a comprehensive sexuality education programme
- Include youth-friendly reproductive health services for AL&YPLHIVs which are comprehensive, repetitive, developmentally appropriate, and tailored-made, with linkages to SRHR in the Operational Guidelines for Treatment and Care by NACO.
- Implement the HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017, with all state governments implementing state rules for the act and establishing dedicated offices and ombudsman to handle complaints. Allocate reasonable resources for implementation.