The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, or UNAIDS, exemplifies the shared commitment of the UN system to addressing one of the gravest challenges facing humanity. Composed of ten co-sponsoring organizations (UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, ILO, WHO, UNESCO and the World Bank), UNAIDS is the main advocate for global action on the epidemic. It leads, strengthens and supports an expanded response aimed at preventing transmission of HIV/AIDS, providing care and support, reducing the vulnerability of individuals and communities to HIV/AIDS, and alleviating the pandemic’s impact.

At the country level, HIV Theme Groups, under the leadership of the UN Resident Coordinator and supported by the UNAIDS Country Coordinator, work to harness the collective resources of UNAIDS and other concerned UN agencies together to advocate for and empower national leadership and to coordinate the response; to broker and facilitate public, private and civil society partnerships; to generate strategic information (good practices and lessons learned) for evidence-informed policy and programming; to build capacity for tracking, monitoring and evaluating country responses; and to facilitate both access to and the optimal use of resources (financial, technical and human) in support of national priorities.

Through the global initiative led by WHO and UNAIDS to ensure three million people globally are on anti-retroviral treatment by 2005 (“3 by 5”), joint UN efforts have supported universal access to effective, affordable and equitable prevention, treatment and care, including safe anti-retroviral treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS. The global initiative on HIV/AIDS Education led by UNESCO and UNAIDS, as part of its overall prevention strategy, is helping countries to develop comprehensive education, sector-based responses to HIV/AIDS, with a focus on children and young people, especially those who are most vulnerable.