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close this bookThe UNAIDS Report (UNAIDS, 1999, 53 p.)
close this folder1. The United Nations responds to AIDS
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How UNAIDS works

The UNAIDS mission

As the leading advocate for worldwide action against HIV/AIDS, the global mission of UNAIDS is to lead, strengthen and support an expanded response to the epidemic that will:

· prevent the spread of HIV

· provide care and support for those infected and affected by the disease

· reduce the vulnerability of individuals and communities to HIV/AIDS


· alleviate the socioeconomic and human impact of the epidemic.

With an annual budget of US$ 60 million and a staff of 129 professionals, UNAIDS is a modest-sized programme with a substantial impact. The UNAIDS Secretariat operates as a catalyst and coordinator of action on AIDS, rather than as a direct funding or implementing agency.

The largest donors to UNAIDS in 1998 were the United States Government, which contributed US$ 15 million, followed by the Governments of the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. UNAIDS also receives funds from non-traditional donors such as China, Thailand and South Africa.

UNAIDS is guided by a Programme Coordinating Board with representatives of 22 governments from all parts of the world, representatives of the 7 UNAIDS Cosponsors, and 5 representatives of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), including associations of people living with HIV/AIDS. UNAIDS is the first United Nations programme to include NGOs in its governing body. The Cosponsors and Secretariat also meet several times a year as the Committee of Cosponsoring Organizations (CCO).


Heads of UNAIDS Cosponsors and their representatives at a CCO meeting, April 1999.

The Secretariat of UNAIDS is based in Geneva, Switzerland. Current priority areas for the Secretariat include:

· young people

· highly vulnerable populations

· prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission

· developing and implementing community standards of AIDS care

· vaccine development

· special initiatives for hard-hit regions, including sub-Saharan Africa.