State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi delivered a speech at the event of Advancing HIV Prevention between Myanmar and Thailand, held at 5:40 pm at the Hilton Hotel in Nay Pyi Taw. An exclusive meeting was held between the State Counsellor and the Royal Princesses of Thailand before the event, at the same hotel.
The State Counsellor and the Royal Princesses of Thailand then attended the event of Advancing HIV Prevention Agenda between Myanmar and Thailand. State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, speaking at the event, said:
I wish also to congratulate the Kingdom of Thailand for its remarkable progress in the fight against HIV- under the leadership of Her Royal Highness.
During my visit to King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital last year, I had the opportunity to bear witness to Thailand’s HIV/AIDS response activities undertaken by the Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre.
I also recall the insightful discussions held on that occasion, when Her Royal Highness detailed a number of HIV/AIDS initiatives and described the various forms of health-care services being provided to HIV patients, helping to reduce the transmission of HIV from mother to child.
Both I and the people of Myanmar commend Her Royal Highness for her tireless dedication to the fight against HIV in our region, and for Her Royal Highness’ role as Goodwill Ambassador for HIV Prevention for Asia and Pacific.
Today’s event takes place following my meeting with HRH Princess in Bangkok last November and offers us an opportunity to explore ways and means by which we may enhance the already strong partnership between our two countries.
I would like to thank the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS which is leading and inspiring us all to realize our shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination, and zero AIDS-related deaths. Thank you also for your support in organizing today’s important event.
Our region is no stranger to HIV. Of the 37.9 million people living with HIV globally, 3.8 million reside in South-East Asia.
Thankfully, with popular support and political will, prevention programmes have achieved a 50 per cent decline in new infections and a 35 per cent decline in deaths.
Indeed, Asia and the Pacific boast some of the earliest successes in responding to the HIV epidemic, with major reductions witnessed in both Myanmar and Thailand.
Antiretroviral therapy medications are helping to control the spread of HIV, allowing many to live long and fruitful lives.
However, more can, and must be, done to support key affected populations, including young people, to access services, as well as to reduce HIV-related stigma.
Myanmar launched our latest five-year HIV response plan in 2017—a plan which provides a road map for the optimization of investments through a ‘fast track’ approach with the goal of ending HIV as a public health threat by 2030.
This ambitious plan aims to ensure the 90-90-90 targets: 90 per cent of people living with HIV know their HIV status, 90 per cent of people who know their HIV-positive status can access treatment, and 90 per cent of people on treatment have suppressed viral loads—are met by 2020.
I am pleased to inform you that clear and tangible progress is being made in Myanmar.
Increased antiretroviral treatment coverage has seen the number of people dying of AIDS-related illnesses fall by a third since 2010.
Furthermore, Myanmar has reduced HIV prevalence amongst the general population to under 0.6 per cent, a decline from 0.94 per cent in 2000.
And yet, despite these important achievements in our fight against HIV, we cannot and will not be complacent.
In addition, Her Royal Highness indicated Thailand’s readiness to share with Myanmar many of the good practices and models implemented by the Thai AIDS Research Centre.
Myanmar has welcomed this kind offer and looks forward to strengthening bilateral and potential trilateral cooperation in the fight against HIV, including in such areas as the exchange of medical technology and experience with regard to preventing eradicating HIV.
I know that our Ministry of Health and Sports, in particular, has learned much from Thailand’s experience.
With this week’s labeling of the coronavirus (COVID-19) as a global pandemic we see how critical it is for us to prioritize cooperation and cross-border partnerships.
I believe that the close cooperation between Myanmar and Thailand in responding to HIV puts us in a stronger position to respond to emerging public health challenges.
I wish to conclude by thanking Her Royal Highness for coming here to share her experiences with us and for her dedication and commitment to HIV prevention within the Asia and Pacific region.
I wish this meeting great success.
Next, Royal Princess Bajrakitiyabha, on behalf of Royal Thailand Princess Soamsawali Krom Muen Suddhanarinatha, gave remarks on Thailand’s successful accomplishment of the HIV prevention measures.
UNAIDS South-East Asian Director Mr Eamonn Murphy briefed on the PrEP programme, which will be carried out for drug addicts in Myanmar, and which would result in a good exemplary lesson within the region; Union Minister Dr Myint Htwe on Myanmar’s gratitude towards Thailand’s assistance in laboratory test for the COVID-19 as well as sharing of Thailand’s significant achievement on the prevention of HIV transmission from mother to child, to Myanmar; and Honorary Patron Dr Praphan of Thai Red Cross Society on the Society’s implementation of the community-based prevention measures in Thailand.
At the end of the event, the State Counsellor and the Royal Thailand Princesses looked around the HIV prevention booths displaying photos and posters, put up by the community-based organizations.
The Royal Thailand Princesses then gave a souvenir to the State Counsellor.
Present at the event were Union Minister U Kyaw Tin of the Ministry of International Cooperation, Union Minister Dr Myint Htwe and Deputy Minister Dr Mya Lay Sein of the Ministry of Health and Sports, permanent secretaries, directors-general and officials, Royal Princess Soamsawali Krom Muen Suddhanarinatha and Royal Princess Bajrakitiyabha, Royal Thailand delegation members, Ambassador Mrs Suphatra Srimaitreephithak of Thailand to Myanmar, and officials with the Thai Embassy in Myanmar.— MNA (Translated by Aungthu Ya)