This is an excerpt of an article by the UN’s Chris Collins that first appeared on AVAC (Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention) here.
All the recent scientific advances in the response to AIDS present the world with a stark choice: accelerate delivery of HIV treatment and prevention and drive down HIV infection and mortality, or settle for the status quo and accept a grave, avoidable AIDS epidemic for decades to come.
New targets from UNAIDS make this clear. They are based on a modeling exercise that asked where HIV service levels need to be in six years (by 2020) if we want to be on a path so that by 2030 HIV infection and death are down to a tenth of where they were in 2010, and HIV-related discrimination is also dramatically reduced.
We can debate the details of any analysis, but the bottom line is inescapable. Without ramped up delivery of lifesaving treatment and targeted prevention in the next five years, along with advances in non-discrimination and human rights that make these services possible, the AIDS epidemic will remain a serious global health threat as far as we can see. We have the chance to change that outcome—but will we seize it?
Ambitious targets are critical now because the health of the global AIDS response is in question. Funding has slowed; stigma and discrimination continue to magnify vulnerability and have worsened in some places. The world needs ambitious targets that will drive new resources based on the evidence and human rights.
Today’s targets need to be different than those of the past. The “3 by 5 Initiative” and “15 by 15” set our sights on reaching millions with lifesaving HIV treatment. As powerful as these initiatives were, it is time for bold targets that do not close coverage gaps alone—new targets should address the interconnection of treatment, prevention and human rights, as well as the quality of service delivery, in making accelerated progress.
To read the rest of the article go here.
About the author: Chris Collins is Chief of the Community Mobilization Division at UNAIDS. Thoughts expressed are his own.