HIV and Prisonsin sub-Saharan Africa:
Opportunities for Action
In 2001, Heads of State and Government Representatives of 189nations gathered at the first-ever Special Session of the UnitedNations General Assembly on HIV/AIDS. They unanimously adopted the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS,acknowledging that the epidemic constitutes a “global emergency and one of the most formidable challenges to human life anddignity.” The Declaration of Commitment covered ten priorities,including prevention, treatment and funding. It was designed as ablueprint to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of halting and beginning to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015.In 2005, recognizing that progress was lagging towards the MGDs,countries and development partners agreed on the urgent need toscale up national efforts to address the AIDS epidemic, leading to aglobal commitment to moving toward universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. This move towarduniversal access was endorsed not only by the UN General Assembly, but also by bodies such as the African Union and theGroup of Eight leading industrialized countries (G8).Of any region in the world, sub-Saharan Africa
is the hardest hitby the epidemic with almost two-thirds of all people infected withHIV living in the region.
. HIV in prisons is both a public healthand a human rights issue that needs to be addressed urgently for aneffective response on the Continent Despite this and althoughthere has been a significant increase in national and internationalfunding to control the epidemic, prison settings in sub-Saharan Africa have received surprisingly little attention.
Throughout the document the words “Africa” and “sub-Saharan Africa” will beinterchangeably used referring specifically to sub-Saharan Africa.
UNAIDS (2006). AIDS Epidemic Update. Geneva, UNAIDS.