Remarks by Ambassador Gilmour
Opening ceremony of 4th Regional HIV Meeting on Key Populations
Hotel 02 Fevrier, Lome, Togo
Wednesday November 28, 1700
Minster of Health and Social Protection of the Republic of Togo
Representative of the Director of UNAIDS West and Central Africa
Director General of the West African Health Organization
Executive Secretary of the National AIDS Control Council of Togo and President of the local organizing committee
Members of country delegations
Esteemed members of the press
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is a great pleasure to be with you this morning, at the opening ceremony of the 4th regional key populations meeting.
I would like to recognize the presence of the Minister of Health and Social Protection of Togo at this ceremony. Thank you for your dedication and support in our combined fight against HIV / AIDs.
The Government of the United States of America has always provided strong leadership in the fight against AIDS. We invest in people, knowing that the best long-term results for countries comes from the hard work of preventing diseases and helping citizens stricken with these deadly diseases.
Through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and our contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, we are the largest contributor globally to the control of the HIV epidemic. PEPFAR celebrated its 15th anniversary this year. This global program has saved the lives of more than 16 million men, women, and children living with HIV and prevented millions of new HIV infections.
Our local support also includes several projects through the Department of Defense and USAID. Here in Togo we have a program call the Department of Defense HIV/AIDS Prevention Program that is saving thousands of Togolese lives by providing life-sustaining medicines to persons infected with HIV. USAID just launched the regional Ending AIDS in West Africa project in 2018, which covers countries in West Africa, including Togo. Ending AIDS in West Africa is a follow-on program from a previous successful USAID project called the Regional HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care Project in West Africa Region (PACTE-VIH) that ended in 2017.
This 4th regional meeting focusses on key populations that are the main drivers of new HIV cases. Our strategy is to adapt HIV programs to our epidemic. The HIV prevalence in West and Central Africa among three key populations – Men who have Sex with Men (MSM), Female Sex Workers (FSW), and People who Inject Drugs (PID) – is 10 to 30 times higher compared to the general population. Forty percent of new HIV infections come from these key populations and their partners.
This 4th regional meeting on key populations is an opportunity to learn and share good practices to accelerate and scale up programs that have shown the most success. I encourage you to use these two days to develop your replication plan and implement it effectively on your return to your respective countries.
Finally, I would like to thank all the partners, who have always supported USAID in organizing this regional meeting on key populations since its first edition in Accra, in 2014. I want to specially thank the Ministries of Health, the National AIDS Committees, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, UNAIDS and the other agencies of the United Nations system, civil society actors and the Associations and networks of key populations.
I also wish to congratulate the organizing committee of this 4th regional meeting for an excellent job done in organizing this international meeting.
I wish you a successful meeting.