AIDS 2012 renews commitment to tackle and end the HIV epidemic
Geneva/Washington D.C., 29 July 2012 – The international AIDS community has called for a renewed commitment to tackle HIV/AIDS and end the epidemic once and for all, as over 20,000 delegates from all over the world gathered this week in the United States capital for the XIX International AIDS Conference. Delegates spent the week participating in a series of discussions focusing on mobilizing governments and communities to achieve the vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.
The possibility of beginning to end the AIDS epidemic in our lifetimes is now a reality, but it requires a scale up of resources and efforts using the tools we have today to curb new infections and improve the health of tens of millions of people with HIV. Turning the tide will take concerted leadership at all levels of government, health systems, academic and non-governmental organizations.
The Global Health Workforce Alliance (the Alliance) was present at the AIDS conference, where Dr Masato Mugitani, Board Chair of the Alliance, chaired a WHO/UNAIDS organized and Alliance sponsored satellite session “Care and treatment for people with chronic conditions: What can we learn from the HIV experience? A health systems perspective”. The session examined service delivery evolvement in addressing HIV/AIDS and the lessons learned from the experience when it comes to preventing and controlling other chronic conditions such as noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). The meeting also identified synergies for HIV, NCDs and other chronic conditions in relation to health systems strengthening.
Dr Mubashar Sheikh, Executive Director of the Alliance spoke at a session on "The health Workforce: Who Care and Where?” along with Dr Eric Goosby, Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator, US State Department, and Dr Anne Phoya, Ministry of Health Malawi. This session presented issues in the workforce crisis and highlighted strategies being implemented to improve the numbers and quality of the HIV healthcare workforce. Dr Sheikh underlined the central role of health workers, including community health workers who dedicate their lives to improving health in their communities and providing care for people living with HIV.
Health services depend on having the right people, with the right skills, in the right place. Improvements in the numbers and skills of the health workforce could transform the response to HIV and save millions of lives. This can be achieved by:
- preventing HIV among health workers and treating those who are infected;
- expanding the workforce through training and increasing the skills of the existing health staff; and
- by retaining skilled staff in the public-health service where they can be most effective in delivering services to the largest numbers of people in need.
Hundreds of organizations signed “The Washington D.C. Declaration” which calls for amongst others, an increase in targeted new investments; access for all to evidence-based HIV prevention, treatment and care and an end to stigma, discrimination against those living with HIV.
The Alliance calls on its members and partners to sign the Declaration and to seek renewed urgency to expand the global AIDS fight.