Delivering Global Commitments
The global fight against AIDS is almost 20 years old, but it has taken
nearly all of those 20 years to learn one basic fact: an effective response
against AIDS requires a sustained society-wide response in every quarter
of the globe. It requires the energy of grass-roots mobilization to
be matched with effective leadership from every level.
Twenty years' experience of the epidemic have demonstrated some key
components of an effective response: strong leadership, partnerships,
overcoming stigma, addressing social vulnerability, linking prevention
to care, focusing on young people, and encouraging community involvement
in the response. These components underpin the effective responses to
the HIV epidemic that are highlighted in this report, from Senegal,
Thailand, and Uganda.
HIV infection has a complex relation to poverty. HIV hits both rich
and poor. Yet there is also a profound link between HIV/AIDS and poverty,
a "negative synergy", whereby HIV/AIDS creates and deepens poverty,
making it harder to escape from. Poverty reduction is therefore an integral
part of reducing vulnerability to HIV and of reducing the impact of
AIDS. Poverty is now one of the main drivers of the global epidemic.
The majority of people with HIV are in the developing world. Not only
are economic inequalities reflected in the epidemic, they are made worse
as energy is sapped from sectors that would otherwise be able to help
The global movement in response to the epidemic is gathering momentum
-- creating new forces of solidarity and a heightened level of advocacy.
However, one of the things we have learnt in the AIDS movement is that
advocacy must be backed up with substance: real shifts in resource allocation,
effective interventions for behaviour change, improved access to care,
and greater distribution of the necessary goods and technologies -- from
pharmaceuticals to condoms.
UNAIDS stands as a committed partner in scaling up efforts against
the communicable diseases that deepen poverty. The opportunity for action
has never been greater, nor its need more urgent.
Dr Peter Piot