By Billie-Jean Nieuwenhuys, Policy Officer, International AIDS Society
The universal access pledge to provide HIV prevention, treatment, care and support to all those in need by 2010 was a key focus of the XVIII International AIDS Conference. There was wide scale agreement that although the commitment will not be achieved this year, the struggle to achieve universal access needs to continue. The conference provided the opportunity to take stock of the universal access pledge and devise strategies for taking the pledge forwards beyond 2010. As Dr. Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of UNAIDS points out, “it is not a time to scale down, but to scale up.”
The key debates on reaching universal access by 2015 appear to centre around two core issues: raising the overall resource demand from international donors as well as national governments and making more effective and efficient use of the resources available now. The Deputy President of South Africa Kgalema Motlanthe stated that “It is our duty and responsibility to use the platforms of the G8 and the G20 to advocate for more resources and that even as the world experiences an economic downturn, investments in HIV must not be the soft target for global austerity measures." More...
The Lancet released a special series on HIV in people who use drugs, including a commentary on the Vienna Declaration, the official declaration of the XVIII International AIDS Conference. The Vienna Declaration seeks to improve community health and safety by calling for the inclusion of science-based evidence in illicit drug policies in order to reduce drug-related harms, including HIV, among people who use drugs.
Other articles in the series cover issues surrounding antiretroviral therapy, opioid substitution therapy and needle and syringe programmes, as well as social issues, such as human rights, decriminalization, stigmatisation and imprisonment of people who use drugs.
By Bill Gates, Co-Chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation [Cross-posted from the Gates Foundation Blog]
I’m honored to speak at the XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna today. This conference marks an important turning point in the fight against AIDS.
There are good reasons to be hopeful – we have seen amazing progress. The number of people getting treatment for AIDS has increased twelve-fold since 2003. The people at this conference and major partners such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and PEPFAR have helped make this possible.
| Credit: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
At the same time, we have to recognize that these are tough times for those of us who are passionate about fighting HIV. Economic turbulence has driven up government deficits, and some countries have responded by reducing their investments in global health. These are the challenges we all face, but they don’t have to define our time. More...