By Kieran Daly, Executive Director, International Council of AIDS Service Organizations (ICASO), an AIDS 2010 Organizing Partner
The XVIII International AIDS Conference takes place at a critical time. 2010. The target year by which the world was to have achieved universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.
As a long-standing member of the Conference Coordinating Committee, the International Council of AIDS Service Organizations (ICASO) believes that AIDS 2010 is a key opportunity to hold world leaders accountable and push them to make a difference in turning the tide on the AIDS pandemic.
We know that investing in AIDS responses is a good example of how the world can effectively respond to health challenges and have real impact. An example of this is the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which alone has financed programmes that will save an estimated five million – including putting 2.5 million people on HIV treatment by 2009.
Yet, while significant progress has been made, a misconception seems to be gaining hold – that enough has been done on AIDS.
But, we know that AIDS has not gone away.
In 2008, 1.7 million adults and 280,000 children under 15 years died due to AIDS, and 2.7 million people were newly infected. The leading cause of death among women of reproductive age is still AIDS (World Health Organisation/UNAIDS 2009).
ICASO believes that investment in AIDS responses continues to be a mechanism to reduce other related health challenges. By integrating more successfully relevant maternal and child health programming into HIV and AIDS responses, and funding mechanisms like the Global Fund, this can both accelerate the existing slow progress on maternal and child health, and also reduce HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths.
We all know that this is real impact.
Yet, despite these gains, we see donor investments in AIDS slowing. As we learn more about the impressive impact that HIV treatment has on preventing the transmission of HIV, to stop access to treatment now, will have serious human and financial implications for the future.
The theme for AIDS 2010 is Rights Here, Right Now – a theme that underscores the need for governments to recognize and address the fact that discrimination, abuses against and criminalization of key population groups – particularly people living with HIV; people who use drugs; female, male and transgender sex workers; sexual minorities, including men who have sex with men and transgender people – continue to fuel the epidemic and hinder efforts to achieve universal access.
In the lead up to AIDS 2010, ICASO therefore calls for investments in the AIDS response:
- by donor governments to fully fund the Global Fund third replenishment in October 2010, with at least the necessary minimum of $20 billion for 2011–2013
- by developing country governments to spend at least 15% of total government spending on health, including honouring existing commitments;
- by all governments to honour their commitments to deliver on universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support by 2015, in line with other MDG commitments;
- by all governments ensuring the realization of full human rights of people of all ages, including people living with HIV, sex workers, transgender people, men who have sex with men, people who use drugs, migrants, prisoners and people with disabilities, by facilitating and promoting their meaningful participation in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of HIV prevention, treatment, care and support programming.
ICASO is a global partnership, with five regional secretariats based in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and North America, working with local and regional community-based organizations and networks every day.
The African Council of AIDS Service Organizations writes that failing on HIV now, means compromising the development of Africa.
The Asia Pacific Council of AIDS Service Organizations says that in spite of the gains, much remains to be done.
AIDS Action Europe explains that the maintenance of the global commitment to reach universal access is crucial for the region of Europe and Central Asia - now more than ever.
The North American Council of AIDS Service Organizations writes that certain populations are disproportionately more affected than others with an increase in diagnosed cases.
Please visit us in the Global Village at Booth # 901 to learn more about our work in strengthening communities’ capacity for advocacy and leadership, or visit us online at www.icaso.org.