Representatives of all stakeholders in the AIDS response came together virtually on 23 April for the interactive multistakeholder hearing ahead of June’s United Nations High-Level Meeting on AIDS.

Representatives of all stakeholders in the AIDS response came together virtually on 23 April for Representatives of all stakeholders in the AIDS response came together virtually on 23 April for the interactive multistakeholder hearing ahead of Junes United Nations High-Level Meeting on AIDS.
Those taking part included people living with, at risk of and affected by HIV, representatives of Member States, parliamentarians, and representatives of local governments, civil society organizations, philanthropic foundations, academia, medical associations, the private sector, and broader communities. The objective of the meeting was to support Member States with the preparations for the high-level meeting through an interactive dialogue with communities, civil society and other key stakeholders.
In his opening remarks, the President of the General Assembly, Volkan Bozkir, applauded activists for their work in reducing the impact of the HIV epidemic.
Your participation here today is not taken for granted. I understand that many of you began advocating and organizing after experiencing loss, suffering, discrimination, and marginalization. I commend you for sharing your lived experience in order to create a better world for all. Your resilience is unmatched.
In her address to the meeting, the Executive Director of UNAIDS, Winnie Byanyima, said that it was the loud and persistent voice of people living with HIV and the communities most affected by the epidemic that had accelerated progress against the virus. Ms. Byanyima also underlined that the HIV response was closely linked to social justice issues.
The struggle to end AIDS is inextricably linked with the struggle to end human rights violations, including discrimination and violence against women and girls and the marginalization and criminalization of people living with HIV and of key populationssex workers, people who use drugs, gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, and transgender people.
Faith Ebere Onuh is a young woman who was born with HIV and a member of the Association of Positive Youth Living with HIV and AIDS in Nigeria (APYIN). When she was 14 years old Ms Ebere Onuh started educating other young people living with HIV about the importance of adhering to their HIV medication. She has become a mentor and a voice for the voiceless, speaking up for young people in Nigeria.
As a young person, I have learned in my time living with HIV and working with my community that to reach the target of ending AIDS by 2030, we must work together, as a global community. While as various individual member states we may be making progress, globally we are still off track, and some regions like mine, West and Central Africa, continue to lag behind.
Neville Gertze, Permanent Representative of Namibia to the United Nations and co-facilitator for the preparations for the 2021 High-Level Meeting on AIDS, said lessons learned in responding to HIV and COVID-19 could be leveraged to improve health systems.
By taking on board lessons learned through HIV, fighting COVID-19 can aid in reimagining systems of health to accelerate the health-related commitments of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. At the same time the HIV experience helps to inform COVID-19 responses, the unfolding response to the COVID-19 pandemic will undoubtedly yield lessons that can benefit both the HIV response as well as broader efforts to strengthen health systems. 
There were four panels during the day to consider the following areas of the HIV response.
1. Equitable and equal access to HIV prevention, treatment and services.
2. Structural and social barriers to achieving HIV outcomes (zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths).
3. How to fully resource and sustain efficient HIV responses and integrate them into systems for health, development, social protection, humanitarian settings and pandemic responses.
4. Bringing it together: building synergies and addressing critical gaps.
A summary report of the interactive multistakeholder hearing will be available on the  President of the General Assembly website prior to the United Nations High-Level Meeting on AIDS, which takes place from 8 to 10 June 2021.