School Children participating at the World AIDS Day activity organized by UNDP at St. George School in Jerusalem

Data from the Ministry of Health show that there were 66 cases of HIV disease (AIDS) in 2010, rising to 72 cases in 2011. Although the number is low compared with rates in other countries, the fight against this disease remains a priority due to population movements in Palestine and the presence of workers employed in the Israeli labour market. The Palestinian priority is to prevent the spread of this disease due to its dire effects on the health of individuals and on society in general. Limited public awareness of prevention methods highlights the need for caution. Data have shown that only 58.8% of young men (aged 15-29) and 35.4% of women in the same age group are aware of at least three methods of preventing the spread of HIV.

In 2008, The Global Fund to fight HIV and AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) approved a comprehensive proposal, submitted by the UN Theme Group (UNTG) on HIV and AIDS, to scale up prevention, treatment and care services in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) for five years for a total amount of USD 10,832,405.

The Global Fund sponsored grants are based on the principal of a pyramid-like classification: starting with the Principal Recipient (UNDP/PAPP), legally bound to the Global Fund and responsible for the supervision and coordination of the overall implementation of the programme, to Sub-Recipients (WHO, UNODC, UNFPA, and Ministry of Health (MOH), responsible for the direct implementation on the ground either through their own capacities and expertise or through the Sub Sub-Recipients (the National AIDS Committee (NAC), other line ministries, UNRWA, and relevant NGOs).

The programme focuses on prevention of HIV and AIDS in the oPt and vulnerability reduction with most at risk population groups as well as strengthening the capacities and systems of the national counterparts in order to provide stronger response. Access to treatment will be increased through this programme.

As the current programme phase is coming to an end in November 2013, ongoing negotiations are underway to access additional GFATM funding for essential HIV treatment and services for the two-year period (December 2013 – November 2015).