Statement by Prime Minister Erna Solberg at the World AIDS day-reception in Johannesburg, South-Africa, 1 December 2018.
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Ladies and gentlemen.
December first, the World AIDS day, has for a long time been an important date.
And I want to thank the Global Fund for gathering all of us here today.
This day is an opportunity to come together and recognise that AIDS is still a serious global challenge.
It is an opportunity to remind the world, and ourselves, that the fight against AIDS is not over.
And it is an occasion where we acknowledge that AIDS has claimed too many lives.
Not least in this country and on this continent.
But today is also an opportunity to say that progress is being made. Every single day.
Efforts to counter the spread of HIV are having real impact.
Both directly, through contraception and information.
And indirectly, by investing in girls’ and women’s health and education.
Broad partnerships, and sometimes unlikely alliances, has produced tremendous progress compared to 20 or even just 15 years ago.
Many of you here today, together with teachers, health workers, community leaders and civil society, are the champions of this progress.
HIV treatment has provided life and hope to millions of individuals and their families.
This has great ripple effects for local communities and societies as a whole.
We know that information, education and contraception is crucial.
Not only to combat this infection, but to create progress on so many of the Global Goals.
This is why I am happy to say here today that Norway will make a very concrete investment in women and girls to end HIV.
We will contribute over 2 million dollars to closing the financing gap for UNFPA supplies.
Through this additional commitment, UNFPA will be able to reach 225 000 women and adolescent girls with contraceptive methods.
This in turn could prevent 130 000 unwanted pregnancies and 40 000 unwanted abortions.
It is an investment in their future.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Your late president Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu taught the world that people affected by HIV/AIDS must be met with dignity and respect.
Empowerment and human rights are better instruments than control and force.
So let these principles guide us as we continue to combat HIV/AIDS.
Thank you all for your tremendous efforts!