Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director, met with the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, at the end of his first official visit to Belarus.
During the meeting, Mr Sidibé highlighted the President’s leadership on HIV as critical to the country’s significant progress in the AIDS response.
President Lukshensko acknowledged the strategic partnership between Belarus and UNAIDS as being essential to the progress made in the country. In 2017, UNAIDS will commemorate 20 years since the opening of its office in Minsk.
Mr Sidibé called on President Lukashenko to build the momentum and put Belarus on the Fast-Track to end AIDS, as was called for by the 2016 United Nations Political Declaration on Ending AIDS. Mr Sidibé encouraged President Lukashenko to continue to scale up the successful HIV prevention programmes among populations at higher risk of HIV infection and make Belarus the first country in eastern Europe and central Asia to end AIDS.
The President presented the Medal of Francysk Skaryna to Mr Sidibé in recognition of his contribution to the global AIDS response and the development of health care in Belarus.
Belarus has been certified by the World Health Organization as having eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV. It has full coverage of antiretroviral therapy for all women and children living with HIV and increased government funding for the national AIDS response to cover more than 80% of all AIDS expenditures.