Regarding the post 2015 agenda, we would like to start by emphasizing the central role that UNAIDS has played across the HIV arena. This has resulted in the reduction of new infections, increased health and longevity for people living with HIV, expansion of HIV research, increased visibility of global HIV literacy and overall protection of life for those living with and most vulnerable to HIV and AIDS. In light of these accomplishments, we look for UNAIDS to continue to pioneer effective HIV and AIDS responses and assert strong, clear and forward leadership on HIV in the Post 2015 era.
After thirty years of the HIV global pandemic and achieving many points of progress, we can ill-afford to withdraw our efforts now or to limit the needed visibility of HIV and AIDS. There is a clear recognition that addressing inequity in all its forms and the realization of human rights without regard to“ethnicity, gender, geography, disability, race or other status” is critical to continuing the gains and progress made in responding to the HIV epidemic that have not only prevented new HIV infections and improved the lives of people living with HIV. The HIV response has had broad reach and exponential impact on the overall strengthening of health systems, development and human rights.
The importance of this recognition cannot be overstated. However, in the context of HIV and AIDS, it has been demonstrated that structural barriers such as legislative policy and frameworks which discriminate, marginalize and criminalize communities remain a major obstacles in the fight against the pandemic. As well, gender inequity, poverty, inequitable access to education, safe and secure housing and food security all act as drivers of the epidemic and increase vulnerability to HIV acquisition and limit access to quality HIV treatment and care for persons living with HIV/AIDS . Therefore, we must include in our agenda meaningful structural interventions to address these conditions.
The PCB NGO delegation members have actively participated in the numerous global, regional and national consultations aiming to contribute to place AIDS in the Post 2015 Development Agenda broadly, not only within the health framework. We have been and remain tireless in this pursuit. Despite our unrelenting efforts and the narrowing time line, HIV currently has limited visibility in key Post 2015 documents, including the eleven thematic outcomes, in the High Level Panel report –. and the alarming omission in the recent report from the Open Working Group meeting on Health that was held last week.
The UNAIDS Post 2015 paper presented at this 32nd PCB clearly outlines numerous potential risks if the visibility of HIV and AIDS is weakened in the post-2015 agenda. We could not agree more given that HIV and AIDS remain an urgent global threat to health, sustainable development and human rights and a lack of focus will undoubtedly result in a loss in prevention, in promoting expanded reductions in incidence and inability to sustain progress and wellness for people living with HIV
The PCB NGO delegation firmly believes HIV and AIDS should remain a high priority within the Post 2015 framework. This positioning is fundamental to realize the work we started 30 years ago, continue to preserve the lives of people living with HIV and AIDS and halt new infections –– and continue robust efforts to see an end to new HIV infections and AIDS progression in the 30 years ahead.. While we celebrate and validate the needed visibility in other very important areas such as gender equity for instance, we find it imperative to see UNAIDS playing a stronger role within the Post 2015 framework promoting similar visibility and illustrative linkages for HIV and violence, inequality, gender equity, sexual reproductive health and rights, sexuality education and other determinants that can limit health and well being.
Building on that, on the PCB working group it has been noted that HIV in post 2015 should go beyond a purely biological response and should be multi-sectoral with inclusion of quality diagnosis; quality stigma-free care; address social drivers that increase risk for HIV acquisition and limit access to diagnosis and care and address inequalities.
We welcome the Executive Director’s call for us to be bold and to set a goal of ending AIDS as an epidemic. We believe that the tools are at hand to do so. But we also recognize that millions of us will still be living with the virus for many years to come.
In this regard we are also concerned with the lack of specifics around the language proposed on the “end of AIDS”, which unlike the robust 3 zero’s, does not have an explicit and pronounced focus on human rights, stigma reduction and “people-centeredness”. Like the 3 zeros, it is imperative that “HIV/AIDS” speak has a broad appeal beyond the HIV and health sectors that can support HIV targets through the SDG’s (universal appeal, understanding and application).
By the conclusion of the 32nd meeting of the UNAIDS PCB we would like to have clarity on the UNAIDS strategy in two main ways: a) to strengthen and accelerate the efforts towards achieving the current MDGs. B) to place HIV within the Post 2015 agenda, especially by building synergy with other sectors beyond the Health.
And, finally, we would like to thanks to UNAIDS for inviting the PCB NGO delegation to be part of the Lancet Commission. We fully receive this invitation and look forward to partnering to keep HIV visible and meaningful in the Post 2015