Position papers will be due on February 2, 2019. The position paper format, and all other important conference documents, can be found on our conference website, http://lhhsconference.weebly.com/. Email all position papers to our committee email:lhhsWHO@gmail.com. Feel free to contact us via email if you have any questions or concerns!
Hey everyone! My name is Wyatt Cottriel and I will be your Head Chair at our conference. I am currently a junior at Laguna Hills High School and am in my third year of Model United Nations. I am part of many of the clubs we have here on campus such as The Red Cross, Make a Wish, The FCA, CSF and more. I’ve played varsity tennis for two years and also enjoy running and biking on the side. I’ve found MUN to be a really great experience to not only learn about relevant issues while improving public speaking skills but also to meet new people and make new friends. I am looking forward to meeting you all in committee at our conference!
Hey everyone! My name is Juliana Yepes and I am your Vice Chair for this year’s conference. I am currently a junior at Laguna Hills High School and this is my fourth year in Model United Nations. On campus, I am part of the Two-Way Immersion program, swim and play water polo. Outside of school, I spent the majority of my free time at church spending time with friends and when I can catch up on my bullet journal. MUN has given me the ability to improve my public speaking and use my thinking skills to come up with possible solutions to real world problems we have today. I can’t to hear all your possible solutions in committee!
Hey everyone! My name is Sophia Lyman and I am currently a sophomore at Laguna Hills High School and this is my fourth year of participating in the Model United Nations Program. I am a part of many other clubs inside and outside of school such as SHS, CSF, Girl Scouts, and more. MUN has been such a great experience and has taught me so much. It is a great opportunity to improve public speaking skills, learn about the world today, and think of solutions to many different problems. I can’t wait to see you all at the LHHS conference!
Background: HIV, human immunodeficiency virus, is a virus that can not be cured even if treatment is used, and if left untreated this virus can eventually lead to AIDS, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. Both of these viruses weaken the body’s immune system by attacking T-cells, the cells that are in charge of battling germs and other infections, which allows new infections, even cancerous ones, to enter the body. These infections are often referred to as opportunistic infections as they take advantage of the body’s weak immune system, and are considered the most dangerous. HIV is spread through blood or bodily fluids; this can include sharing needles, having unprotected sex, or a mother passing it on to her infant through her milk. Those who are affected by AIDS and do not receive medication are expected to only have around 3 years left to live.
HIV/ AIDS affects people all around the world. In 2017, 36.9 million people were living with HIV and 25% of those infected were unaware that they were living with the virus. This is mainly because symptoms do not show immediately, in some cases taking up to 10 years before those affected begin to experience the symptoms. In the United States alone, there are around 200,000 cases of this disease reported each year; however, the majority of the people diagnosed with the virus live in undeveloped countries such as the southern part of Africa. The country with the highest rate of citizens living with HIV/AIDS is Swaziland with 27.20% of the population infected. The majority of those affected are women with more than 31% found HIV-positive; this compares to the 20% of men living with the infection. In sub- Saharan Africa, three out of four new infections are found in women ages 15-24. In addition to this, other areas around the world are seeing an increase in the amount of their population living with HIV. The annual number of HIV infections has more than doubled in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Since the disease has been discovered, there has been a growing awareness of public health, patient activism, and people reaching out to others to help rid their lives of these viruses. This has made way to new organizations that help provide treatment to those who are unable to get it themselves including UNAIDS, The Elton John AIDS Foundation, The Rush Foundation, and AmfAR. Many of these organizations focus on countries highly impacted by the virus, instruct workshops about the virus, and provide medical treatments such as Preventative HIV Vaccines. The most common treatment used today is antiretroviral therapy, also known as ART. This is a medicine that can dramatically improve the lives of those affected. If taken correctly, it can prolong the life of someone affected by HIV so much so that they can live about the same amount of time as someone who does not have the virus. However, only about 59% of those affected receive the help needed meaning that 41% of the world’s population with HIV is at risk of developing AIDS. There are currently only 21.7 million people to whom this medication is given to mainly due to the fact that the people living in undeveloped countries do not have the resources or money to receive the help they need.
UN Involvement: Since 1996, the organization of WHO alongside 10 other UN organizations have worked together under the Joint United Nations Programme in hopes of preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS by combining all their resources and efforts. At the general assembly’s millennium summit in 2000, world leaders set specific goals to stop and then reverse the spread of HIV. At the summit, they discussed the of addressing these goals by issuing the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS. In doing so, they have set guidelines of how each organization will do their part and contribute to end of the spread of HIV and someday hope to find a cure. Later in 2006 the Assembly adopted Political Declaration where they would put universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and support services into action.
Following this in 2011, the New York Assembly made targets which defined the global AIDS response. In 2015, they revealed to the world that they had executed the target for the Development Goal 6 where they stop the spread of and reverse the AIDS epidemic. Mid-way through the year almost 15 million people had access to the antiviral treatment. As time has passed, UNAIDS has been able to diminish the amount of AIDS related deaths from 1.4 million in 2010 to 940,000 in 2017. They now have set new goals and developed a Fast Track to bring an end to AIDS. To accomplish this they defined new targets such as 90% of people with HIV being aware that they have HIV, 90% of those who have HIV being treated properly, and lastly reducing new HIV infections by 75%. Across the board, the UN with the help of other organizations has worked restlessly to bring an end to this global epidemic. Although they have not reached their goal yet, by continuing on they plan to see the end of the HIV/ AIDS entirely.
Bloc Positions: Western Bloc: Within the Western Bloc, North America alongside Europe, HIV/ AIDs has not been considered to be one of the most prolific or pressing issues in society but it is still said to effect somewhere around 2.2 million people in these regions with the rate of new infections sitting around 70,000 each year. The mortality rate sits at around a low 13,000 people every year with 85% of those with HIV aware of it and 76% of that population receiving treatment. The Western Bloc has taken many steps to combat HIV/ AIDs such as providing NSGs, Needle and Syringe Programs to make clean syringes more available to those who use them, while also implementing sexual education into their schools. There has also been a large availability of therapies and treatments for those who have abused drugs known to transfer HIV/ AIDS such as Opioid Substitution Therapy.
Latin Bloc: Within the Latin Bloc HIV/ AIDs is said to effect somewhere close to 1.8 million people with rate of new infections staying stable at 100,000 every year. It has been estimated that around 77% of those with HIV/ AIDs are aware of their condition with around 61% of them receiving treatment. The mortality rates have seen a steady decline since 2010 of around 12% but still stand around 37,000 deaths every year. Within this bloc many who may be affected by HIV/ AIDS refuse to seek treatment or sometimes even diagnosis for a number of reasons including fear of stigma, fear of declaring their immigrant status, poverty, or even simply having less education regarding HIV/ AIDS.
African Bloc: Within the African Bloc HIV/ AIDs has become one of the most pressing and prominent issues facing their society with an estimated 25.7 million people with HIV/ AIDs. Every year in Eastern and Southern Africa there are 800,000 new infections and 380,000 deaths while in Western and Central Africa each year there are 370,000 new infections and 280,000 deaths. In Eastern and Southern Africa it is said that around 81% of the population with HIV/ AIDs is aware of their condition and 81% of those who are aware are also receiving treatment. Western and Central Africa fair far worse with around 48% of those with HIV/ AIDs being aware of their condition and 83% of those aware receiving treatment. Within these regions there has been a large push to fight this epidemic but efforts have been difficult with the scope of the issue being so large. Efforts such as sexual education have been adopted in 20 countries so far but in many circumstances so few of the population even has access to proper education making it difficult to reach them. Other efforts like HTC (HIV testing and counseling), new treatments and higher allocations of government money to the prevention of HIV have also been prominent but the issue still remains at large.
Asian Bloc: In Asia HIV/ AIDs is estimated to effect 5.2 million people with around 280,000 new infections each year and 170,000 mortalities each year. It is estimated that 74% of the population living with HIV is aware of their condition and 53% of those with HIV are receiving treatment. Reforms to enable change in Asia have proven to be difficult to put in action with strict rules, regulations and laws hindering their ability to extend help to those who are considered criminals (i.e. sex workers or those who have abused drugs). Sex education is also limited in many asian schools as the curriculum strictly doesn’t teach certain concepts important to HIV/ AIDs like sexuality.
Questions to consider: 1. How will we implement solutions that were effective in developed countries in non-developed or developing countries? 2. Will short term or long term solutions be the most effective? 3. How will countries with strict laws help those that they would typically prosecute like sex workers and drug abusers? 4. What role should international actors like the UN play in the fight against HIV/ AIDs versus individual governments. 5. What should be done about nations that refuse to teach certain topics that are pertinent to the issue?