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PV 30/11/2006 - 4
CRE 30/11/2006 - 4

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PV 30/11/2006 - 8.23
CRE 30/11/2006 - 8.23

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Texts adopted
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Thursday, 30 November 2006 - Brussels

European Parliament resolution on AIDS

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to its resolution of 6 July 2006 entitled "HIV/AIDS: Time to Deliver"(1) and its resolution of 2 December 2004 on World Aids Day(2),

–   having regard to World AIDS Day on 1 December 2006 and its theme: "Accountability: Stop AIDS, Keep the Promise",

–   having regard to the UNAIDS(3) 2006 AIDS Epidemic Update, published on 21 November 2006,

–   having regard to the UN High Level Meeting to review progress on the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS, held from 31 May to 2 June 2006,

–   having regard to the XVI International AIDS Conference, held in Toronto in August 2006,

–   having regard to the Commission Communication to the European Parliament and the Council of 27 April 2005 entitled 'European Programme for Action to Confront HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis through External Action (2007-2011) (COM(2005)0179) which covers all developing countries,

–   having regard to the Commission Communication to the European Parliament and the Council on combating HIV/AIDS within the European Union and in the neighbouring countries, 2006-2009 (COM(2005)0654), of 15 December 2005,

–   having regard to the G8 Summit held at Gleneagles in July 2005 and the commitment which the UN undertook in 2005 to achieving universal access to prevention treatment and care by 2010,

–   having regard to Rule 103(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas more than 25 million people have died from AIDS since the first identified case of the disease 25 years ago,

B.   whereas there were 4.3 million new cases of infection in 2006, 2.8 million (65%) of which were in Sub-Saharan Africa alone, according to the UNAIDS' update report published on 21 November 2006,

C.   whereas over 95% of the 39.5 million people in the world suffering from HIV/AIDS live in developing countries,

D.   whereas there are indications that infection rates in Eastern Europe and Central Asia have risen by more than 50% since 2004, and only in a few countries have new infections actually declined,

E.   whereas, of the 6.8 million people living with HIV in low and middle-income countries and in need of anti-retroviral medication, only 24% have access to the necessary treatment,

F.   whereas there are an estimated 15 million HIV/AIDS orphans globally, 12.3 million of them living in Sub-Saharan Africa,

G.   whereas only 5% of HIV-positive children receive medical help, and fewer than 10% of the 15 million already orphaned by AIDS get financial support,

H.   whereas older siblings and grandparents take on responsibility for often large numbers of AIDS orphans, and the dying generation of HIV/AIDS-infected young adults is leaving some countries with too few teachers, nurses, doctors and other key professionals,

I.   whereas AIDS disproportionately affects the generation of economically active young people,

J.   whereas women now account for 50% of people living with HIV worldwide and nearly 60% of people living with HIV in Africa,

K.   whereas the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will only be achieved if sexual and reproductive health issues are fully integrated into the MDG agenda,

L.   whereas sexual and reproductive health is dependent upon the prevention of HIV and of other diseases linked to poverty ,

M.   whereas people living with HIV have special reproductive health needs in terms of family planning, safe birthing and the breastfeeding of babies, which are often overlooked in spite of the growing number of women succumbing to the epidemic,

N.   whereas the US Bush administration continues to block funding for non-US development NGOs that counsel on the full range of reproductive health services; and whereas the majority of this "decency gap" has been filled by the EU for the poorest countries,

O.   whereas the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) of 1994 and ICPD follow-up work undertaken in 1999 and 2004 reaffirmed the importance of empowering women and providing them with more choices by improving their access to sexual and reproductive health education, information and care,

P.   whereas five years after the Doha Declaration, rich countries are still failing to fulfil their obligation to ensure that cheaper life-saving drugs are available in developing countries,

Q.   whereas five years after the Doha Declaration, which stated that "each member state of the WTO has the right to grant compulsory licenses and the freedom to determine the grounds upon which such licenses are granted", the WHO warns that 74% of AIDS medicines are still under monopoly and 77% of Africans still have no access to AIDS treatment,

R.   whereas fierce competition in the generic pharmaceuticals industry has helped prices for first-line AIDS drug regimens fall by 99% since 2000, from USD10,000 to roughly USD130 per patient per year, although prices for second-line drugs – which patients need as resistance develops naturally – remain high, mostly owing to increased use of patents in key generic pharmaceutical-producing countries,

S.   whereas in the negotiation of bilateral trade deals, agreements should not limit how countries may use public-health safeguards,

HIV/AIDS in the world

1.  Expresses its deepest concern at the spread of HIV/AIDS and other epidemics among the poorest peoples in the world and at the lack of focus on the prevention of HIV/AIDS, the inaccessibility of key medicines, the insufficiency of funding and the continuing need for more research into the major epidemics;

2.  Stresses the importance of the accountability of governments, health service providers, the pharmaceuticals industry, NGOs, civil society and others involved in prevention, treatment and care;

3.  Calls on all international donors to work to ensure that HIV prevention programmes reach the people most at risk of infection, as identified in the UNAIDS conclusion that these vulnerable groups are not being provided for;

4.  Stresses the need for the EU to fund specific programmes to ensure that children affected by the AIDS epidemic by the loss of one or both parents or by contracting the disease themselves remain in education and are supported;

5.  Calls for all aid programmes to make sure that, once a patient starts a course of treatment, funding is provided so that treatment can continue to be provided uninterruptedly, in order to prevent the increased drug resistance that results from the interruption of treatment;

6.  Stresses the need for the EU to fund programmes to protect women from all forms of violence that favour the spread of AIDS and to ensure that victims are afforded access to health services and the opportunity to reintegrate into society and to combat the stigma that often affects victims of such violence;

7.  Stresses the need for an overall funding increase from donors in future years for all contraceptive supplies, including condoms for HIV prevention, to fill the gap between supplies and availability to purchase them;

8.  Calls on the IMF to end monetary conditions and abolish fiscal ceilings that force countries to restrict spending on public health and education;

9.  Calls on the newly elected US Congress to overturn the Bush administration's "global gag rule", which stops funding from non-US NGOs to any reproductive health organisations that counsel on abortion, and calls on the Commission and Member States to ensure that the US government reverses its "global gag" on reproductive health spending;

10.  Repeats its concern, expressed also recently by the WHO, that some African governments are charging a sales or import tax on antiretrovirals and other drugs, which then makes the drugs unaffordable to poor communities; urges the Commission to investigate this and to encourage governments to abolish such taxes;

Sexual and reproductive health

11.  Stresses that the strategies needed to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic effectively must include a comprehensive approach to prevention, education, care and treatment and must include the technologies currently in use, improved access to treatment and the development of vaccines as a matter of urgency;

12.  Calls on the European Commission and the governments of the European Union's partner countries to ensure that health and education, and HIV/AIDS and sexual and reproductive health in particular, are prioritised in Country Strategy Papers;

13.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to support programmes that combat homophobia and break down the barriers that prevent the disease from being addressed effectively, especially in Cambodia, China, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand and Vietnam and across Latin America, where there is increasing evidence of HIV outbreaks among men who have sex with other men;

14.  Expresses concern that the UNAIDS report highlights that levels of knowledge of safe sex and HIV remain low in many countries, including those in which the epidemic has had a high impact; calls, in this regard, for information, education and counselling on responsible sexual behaviour and effective prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, to become integral components of all reproductive and sexual health services;

15.  Welcomes the inclusion of research into HIV/AIDS in the 7th Framework Programme of the European Community for research, technical development and demonstration activities and calls for support for research into vaccines and microbicides, diagnostic and monitoring tools suited to the needs of developing countries, and the study of epidemic transmission patterns and social and behavioural trends; underlines that women must be involved in all appropriate clinical research, including vaccine trials;

16.  Calls for investment in the development of prevention methods that may be used by women, such as microbicides, condoms for women and post-exposure prophylaxis for rape victims;

Access to medicines

17.  Encourages governments to use all means available to them under the TRIPs Agreement, such as compulsory licences, and for the WHO and the WTO and its members to review the whole TRIPs Agreement with a view to improving access to medicines;

18.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to now recognise, five years after the adoption of the Doha Declaration, that its application has been a failure, inasmuch as the WTO has received no notification from an exporting or importing country of compulsory medicines nor any such notification under the Decision of 30 August 2003 of the General Council of the WTO on implementing paragraph 6 of the Doha Declaration;

19.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to take the necessary steps within the WTO, in association with the developing countries, to modify the TRIPS Agreement and its provisions based on the Decision of 30 August 2003 (Article 31a), in order in particular to abolish the complex and time-consuming procedural steps in the authorisation of compulsory licenses;

20.  Meanwhile, encourages and calls on all countries facing major epidemics to make immediate use of Article 30 of the TRIPS Agreement to access the necessary medicines without paying patent royalties to right-owners;

21.  Calls on the Commission to increase to EUR 1 billion the EU's contribution to the global fund against HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB, as clearly requested by the European Parliament in its above-mentioned resolution of 2 December 2004, and on all Member States and G8 members to increase their contribution to EUR 7 billion in 2007 and EUR 8 billion in 2008, in order to provide UNAIDS with the resources necessary to reduce the extent of these epidemics;

22.  Calls on the EU to clarify that it will not push for TRIPS-plus measures within Economic Partnership Agreements and that developing countries will be guaranteed the policy space to use TRIPS flexibilities freely;

23.  Supports the commitment undertaken by heads of state and government at the 2005 UN World Summit calling for universal access to HIV/AIDS prevention services, treatment and care by 2010; believes, however, that a clear plan for funding universal access should be developed and international and interim progress targets set;

24.  Stresses that strong public health services, including research facilities, are essential in order to fight the epidemic, and opposes the situation of conditionality leading to their liberalisation;

25.  Calls for greater investment in the development and provision of paediatric formulations for children;

26.  Calls for support for development of regional and national generic pharmaceutical-producing industries in affected areas with a view to facilitating access to affordable drugs;

o   o

27.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments of the EU Member States and ACP countries, the IMF, the Government of the United States, the UN Secretary-General and the heads of UNAIDS, UNDP and UNFPA.

(1) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2006)0321.
(2) OJ C 208 E, 25.8.2005, p. 58.
(3) Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS.

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