UN: UNAIDS Board urges more investment, partnership to end HIV/AIDS epidemic

New York, US (PANA) - The Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Coordinating Board has stressed the need for sustained investment, strengthened commitment, partnerships and innovation to enable more countries to accelerate the delivery of services to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

The UNAIDS Board said, however, that significant progress was made in the response to HIV/AIDS epidemic around the world.

In a statement issued on Monday at the end of its 39th meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, the Board noted the shortfall of funding commitments to support UNAIDS’ work and emphasized the need for more funds to ensure the fight against the epidemic was sustained.

The statement, made available to PANA in New York, also called for the intensification of efforts to eliminate new infections among children and keep their mothers alive, so as to reach the targets set out in the 2016 Political Declaration on Ending AIDS and the Start Free Stay Free AIDS Free framework.

It welcomed the successful replenishment of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and called for increased investment in community-based health service delivery and in civil society partners involved in the AIDS response, as well as for the strengthening of other measures designed to enhance community involvement.

The Board also emphasized that community leadership will become even more important under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which require inclusive responses and reaching the people most at risk of being left behind.

"Community responses have been in the vanguard of the AIDS response from the very beginning, but are not a substitute for national responses, rather, they constitute an integral component of evidence-informed national implementation plans, in particular for a Fast-Track response," it stated.

During the meeting, the Board focused on the state of the epidemic among people living with HIV and at risk of acquiring HIV aged 50 years and above, the impact of ageing with HIV and related health and social sector responses, noting that there was broad consensus for the need to support programmes and health system structures to comprehensively meet the needs of a growing number of people living with HIV who are aged 50 or over.

UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibe, who spoke at the meeting, said: "2016 is a momentous year for the AIDS response, with remarkable access to anti-retroviral therapy expanded to more than 18 million people and more countries adopting a Fast-Track response to ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030."

He said the Fast-Track response includes a set of measurable targets that must be reached by 2020 in order for the world to be on course to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

Mr. Sidibe stressed the need to continue to respond to the underlying issues that increase the vulnerability of people to HIV infection, particularly specific groups of people, including young women and adolescent girls and key populations, such as sex workers, transgender people, gay men and other men who have sex with men, prisoners and people who inject drugs.

He announced plans for a new prevention coalition across different initiatives and among different leaders, implementers and community representatives committed to closing the prevention gap.  

Despite the progress made in responding to HIV, the UNAIDS chief warned of emerging global challenges that threaten to blow the Fast-Track response off course.

"It is essential that countries continue to have access to long-term, predictable and sustainable resources. If this is not the case, they will not be able to sustain and accelerate their responses to HIV and there could be a rebound of the AIDS epidemic in the coming years," he stated.
-0- PANA AA/VAO 12Dec2016

12 ديسمبر 2016 15:58:50

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