Originally posted by IPPF
There are currently 35 million people living with HIV who will need treatment for the rest of their lives and with the introduction of the new WHO treatment guidelines in 2013, only 34% of the 26 million people currently eligible are actually receiving treatment. In the midst of those figures and with funding in decline, statements about the end of AIDS falls nothing short of premature, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) said ahead of World AIDS Day 2013.
IPPF’s Director General Tewodros Melesse said: “We fully support UNAIDS vision of a world free from AIDS and their vision of zero deaths from AIDS, zero new HIV infections and zero HIV stigma and discrimination. But there is a danger of some complacency creeping in with some media announcements about the end of AIDS.”
“It is better to say that the beginning of the end of AIDS is in sight, but if we rest for just one moment the progress we are making, can easily be derailed.”
Even though the pace of the epidemic is slowing, there were still 2.3 million new infections in 2012 and 1.6 million deaths, and stigma remains a major obstacle. There are urgent challenges that have to be faced in the response to HIV. Health efforts must address the following:
- Rises in new HIV infections in middle income countries
- Generalized epidemics in sub-Saharan Africa
- The scourge of sexual and gender-based violence
- Homophobia in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and many parts of Africa.
There is a need to tackle the HIV response using a rights-based and inclusive approach. Efforts must focus on key populations such as sex workers, men who have sex with men, transgender people, migrants, prisoners and people who use drugs.
IPPF’s Senior Adviser on HIV, Alan Smith talked of how efforts can be strengthened, he said: “As the world forges new development goals, IPPF supports the focus on universal health coverage in the post-2015 discussions, but this must include equity for all, and specific indicators on HIV. What gets measured gets funded.”
“The development sector can learn from the experience of the HIV movement, whose success is based on human rights, involving key affected populations, and the role of community-based activism.
“On World AIDS Day 2013, let us renew our commitment to an AIDS-free world, with no one left behind.”