Power of partnership for Implementation, innovation and equity: collective solutions for a sustainability AIDS response.
Thank you, Chair. It is true that this panel is important to make sure that we are implementing solutions collectively in the spirit of partnership.
As we adopt and now plan for the implementation of the Fast Track, there are more questions than answers. And one question that needs to be answered: DO WE COUNT??? Do lives of men who have sex with men, transgenders, sex workers, people living with HIV, people who use drugs, women in all diversity, adolescents, and young people really count??
The answer must be a resounding and unequivocal YES! Key populations’ lives count! Every life of those most vulnerable to HIV has an equal value!
Though we are frequently reminded that we are in the era of evidence-based public health, data-driven decision-making and performance-based metrics, the evidence on HIV among key populations is routinely ignored. At the same time, funding for HIV services responsive to our needs remains wanting. And we heard that clearly from my fellow community representative from the Asia Pacific.
In July 2014, the World Health Organization released a long awaited,rapidly developed publication: the Consolidated Guidelines on HIV prevention, diagnosis and care for key populations with a revolutionary section on critical enablers. Yet there are questions on the willingness of institutions: governments, donors, development agencies and civil society — to embrace their fundamental responsibility to respond to the health needs of key populations and invest in evidence in a sustainable manner.
New technical guidelines and progressive policies are important, but to make a difference, they must be applied. Investments must be targeted to fill these gaps and expanded to match the scale of our needs. Health and budget ministries of countries must also have the political commitment and must work in partnership, together with communities, to ensure focus and funding is invested for key populations. Now is the time to prove WE, and yes, that includes Asia Pacific, COUNT!