The International Council of AIDS Service Organization (ICASO) released today its report entitled “Universal Access: Moving beyond the rhetoric”. The report summarizes the findings of a 15 country community sector analysis assessing the status of universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support in 2010 – the deadline agreed by the world’s governments for universal access. Based on the evidence provided, this report ‘takes stock’ – identifying successes, gaps and challenges.
The ICASO research confirms that important progress is being made. Some key interventions – such as the availability of antiretroviral therapy – have been scaled up, for example, through decentralization strategies involving the community sector. However, ICASO’s partners also report many challenges. These are particularly seen in relation to the lack of progress in HIV prevention for key populations; programmes to address stigma and discrimination and protect human rights, especially of key populations; and interventions to address gender inequities, especially for women from key populations. Some of these challenges remain the same as documented by ICASO within the original target setting for universal access (2006/7) and interim review (2008). Meanwhile, new trends are also emerging, such as growing concern about political de-prioritizing of HIV and lack of funding commitments and predictability, in addition to access to domestic and international resources.
This report highlights how, by 2010, despite impressive efforts in some contexts, none of the countries addressed by the ICASO research had met all of their targets for universal access and in fact, most remained appallingly ‘off-track’.