THIS World AIDS Day brings with it the realization that in less than 400 days, the Millennium Development Goals would have expired. It is clear that some targets would not have been achieved. Among them, are those associated with the response to HIV and AIDS. Yet there is much to celebrate. People with AIDS are living longer, many more are on antiretroviral treatment and there are greater techniques for accelerating prevention, effective financing, governance and accountability for AIDS related programmes. These are all essential requirements for closing the gap and ushering an AIDS free generation.
UNAIDS has provided the impetus for getting to Zero with an ambitious 90-90-90 goal. It requires that by 2020, 90% of those infected get tested; 90% of those tested having access to treatment and 90% of those on treatment registering low enough viral loads, preventing transmission. The science shows that by meeting these targets the end of the AIDS epidemic by 2030 is possible.
Let us therefore take the opportunity afforded by World AIDS day to reach those vulnerable populations and those most in need. Let us resolve to eliminate inequalities, and reduce gender violence and stigma and discrimination; cinders that fan the flames of HIV and AIDS.
While we must continue to advocate for retaining AIDS in the post 2015 sustainable development agenda, we also need to recognize that the emerging global health architecture is being designed to respond more adequately on global health challenges. These require an integrated health response based less on disease specific silos of HIV, TB, malaria, women’s and children’s health, NCDs and Ebola while targeting disease specific measures to control their respective burdens and spread and avoid the emergence of epidemic. The pillars of the new global architecture rest on multisectoral collaboration, universal access, partnerships based on shared responsibility and global solidarity.
Dr. Edward Greene
UN Secretary-General Special Envoy for HIV in the Caribbean