Panama City, 15 February, 2019 — The Joint United Nations Program on HIV / AIDS (UNAIDS) expresses its deep concern over the arrest—without prior judicial order—of Venezuelan citizens Willmer Álvarez, Manuel Armas and Jhonatan Mendoza, members of the non-governmental organizations, MAVID and the Venezuela Network of Positive People (RVG). Although they have already been released, we regret and condemn the confiscation of antiretroviral drugs (ARV) and milk formula for babies of mothers living with HIV, which were distributed by the NGO from product donations received in recent months.
UNAIDS believes that the leading and direct participation of communities and people living with HIV in the national response is key. They have a fundamental role in achieving a coherent, robust and timely national response that understands the needs of the people most affected by the epidemic. The HIV Response Master Plan signed between the Ministry of Popular Power for Health, PAHO and UNAIDS includes the important role of NGOs and people living with HIV in the processes of acquiring, distributing, monitoring and delivering ARV drugs. The three people detained in Valencia, as well as the Director of the NGO MAVID, Mr. Eduardo Franco, are focal points of the RVG in Carabobo and are recognized for their work in support of people living with HIV in Venezuela.
UNAIDS considers it essential to promote coordination between the various actors of the national HIV response and urges the appropriate authorities of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to guarantee the health and safety of people living with HIV, allowing them to carry out the activities of distributing and delivering antiretroviral drugs and milk formula in a climate of respect for their fundamental rights.
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more at unaids.org and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.