40th PCB Meeting
Agenda 5. Follow-up to the thematic segment from the 39th Programme Coordinating Board meeting
To be delivered by Ferenc Bagyinszky, NGO Europe
Thank you, Chair.
During the last PCB in December, we had the privilege to dedicate a whole day to the theme of HIV and ageing. I am saying privilege, as although ageing is a normal part of a life cycle, for us, people living with HIV, ageing became a reality not that long ago with the era of combination antiretroviral therapy.
The NGO Delegation appreciates the development of the rich draft decision points and that our suggestions were mostly integrated into the final draft. We can only encourage the Board to approve these decision points.
However, in the era of SDGs, we must raise our concern, that our proposed decision point, aiming at exploring innovative ways of affordable and sustainable research and development structures, has been omitted. It is clear that we need to continue the multilateral discussion on the issues of pricing, affordability and sustainability of treatment and care programmes.
Most importantly, we must not stay silent about the tragedy that not every person living with HIV is granted the chance to age. In 2017, over 30 years into the epidemic and over 20 years after the introduction of combination therapy, globally half of the people living with HIV have no access to antiretroviral treatment. In some regions, such as Eastern Europe or Latin America and the Caribbean, these figures are even more tragic.
People living with HIV still die every hour all over the world, as universal access to treatment is blocked by criminalization, by restrictive policies and guidelines, by stigma and by intellectual property issues, or because their Governments cannot afford or decide not to allocate enough funds for all people in need of treatment. And because humanitarian disaster constantly emerge and we fail to respond, such as the ongoing tragedy of communities of PLHIV in Venezuela who do not have access to medication or food any more.
As the proposed Decision Point 7.2 b says – quote – an ageing population of people living with HIV is a measure of a successful response to HIV – end quote, we must also admit that every life lost to HIV is a failure of the response to HIV.
We call on Member States to remove all legal and structural barriers that block universal access of HIV treatment and care and request the Joint Programme to continue providing its assistance in reaching the treatment targets.
#TheUNAIDSWeNeed ensures that every person living with HIV is granted the opportunity of ageing with HIV.