For information only - not an official document

1 December 2020

President of the International Narcotics Control Board Cornelis P. de Joncheere:  

Message on World AIDS Day 2020 - world needs global solidarity, shared responsibility and resilient health services

1 December 2020

VIENNA, 1 December (United Nations Information Service) - This year's World AIDS Day campaign focuses on the need for global solidarity, shared responsibility and resilient health services. The rate of HIV transmission remains high, with a large number of new infections driven by drug injection. HIV/AIDS remains a major public health issue and has been further challenged during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to disruptions in prevention, testing and treatment services. The disruption of these important services endangers lives through a greater risk of overdose deaths, HIV infection and AIDS-related deaths. The COVID-19 pandemic has also affected illicit drug markets and resulted in changing drug use patterns.   

Preventing the transmission of HIV/AIDS among people who inject drugs is essential towards reducing HIV/AIDS infections and related deaths, as unsafe drug injecting practices are one of the drivers of new infections. The international drug control conventions oblige State Parties to take all practicable measures for the prevention of the use of drugs, and for education, early identification, after-care, rehabilitation and social integration of people affected by drug use disorders. Such evidence-based services can reduce the use of drugs - including by injection - and thereby contribute to reducing HIV infection rates. Medically-supervised opioid agonist programmes can play a critical role in preventing HIV infection, as can access to clean injecting equipment in order to minimize the adverse public health and social consequences of drug abuse.

INCB continues to support governments in implementing the provisions of the drug control conventions, including through targeted recommendations and thematic chapters in its Annual Reports on the prevention of drug use and the provision of evidence-based treatment, rehabilitation and social reintegration services for people affected by drug use disorders.
Everyone has a right to receive health services, including services related to drug use disorders and HIV. Neither stigma nor discrimination should determine a person's access to health services. Health is a human right, and drug policies must embrace that human rights approach.

We must invest in the health of our global community and attain universal health coverage, including for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS and drug use disorders. This World AIDS Day is an opportunity to reaffirm, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, that we must stand together in solidarity to ensure the continued provision of health services, including those for the prevention and treatment of HIV and drug use disorders.


INCB is the independent, quasi-judicial body charged with promoting and monitoring Government compliance with the three international drug control conventions: the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. Established by the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, the thirteen members of the Board are elected in a personal capacity by the Economic and Social Council for terms of five years.

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