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close this bookThe UNAIDS Report (UNAIDS, 1999, 53 p.)
close this folder1. The United Nations responds to AIDS
View the documentWhy UNAIDS?
View the documentHow UNAIDS works
View the documentUNAIDS at country level


From 1986, the World Health Organization (WHO) had the lead responsibility on AIDS in the United Nations, helping countries to set up much-needed national AIDS programmes. But by the mid-1990s, it became clear that the relentless spread of HIV, and the epidemic’s devastating impact on all aspects of human lives and on social and economic development, were creating an emergency that would require a greatly expanded United Nations effort.

Nor could any single United Nations organization provide the coordinated level of assistance needed to address the many factors driving the HIV epidemic, or help countries deal with the impact of HIV/AIDS on households, communities and local economies. Greater coordination would be needed to maximize the impact of UN efforts.


Addressing these challenges head-on, the United Nations took an innovative approach in 1996, drawing six organizations together in a joint and cosponsored programme - the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). The six original Cosponsors of UNAIDS - UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank - were joined in April 1999 by UNDCP.

The goal of UNAIDS is to catalyse, strengthen and orchestrate the unique expertise, resources, and networks of influence that each of these organizations offers. Working together through UNAIDS, the Cosponsors expand their outreach through strategic alliances with other United Nations agencies, national governments, corporations, media, religious organizations, community-based groups, regional and country networks of people living with HIV/AIDS, and other nongovernmental organizations.