August 10, 2015
Last month Médecins Sans Frontières commented that, based on all the recent scientific advances in HIV, now is the time to "hit the accelerator to save lives and stop this virus." But what will it take to speed up and improve the reach of prevention and treatment delivery while minimizing stigma and discrimination?
The answer, of course, is many things, but particularly political mobilization. We have to use every opportunity, including government budgeting processes, the forthcoming Global Fund replenishment, the United Nations Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs, the UN High-Level Meeting on AIDS and the International AIDS Conference in Durban, to catalyze global commitment and investment.
One part of mobilization is an updated UNAIDS Strategy that provides a renewed vision of the global response to AIDS focused on ending the epidemic and setting bold targets for prevention, treatment and human rights protection.
The draft updated UNAIDS Strategy is now available for review and comment through August 21, 2015.
Why does UNAIDS need to update its Strategy? First, the revised Strategy will guide implementation of the Fast-Track approach, which calls for an accelerated, more equitable and strategic scale-up of services in the next five years in order to end the epidemic as a public health threat by 2030. Fast-Track is about motivating change: quickening the pace of delivery, focusing services to reach the locations and populations most affected, and broadening options for service delivery, including greater reliance on community-based services. Fast-Track seeks to integrate prevention and treatment scale-up with major advances on human rights: repealing discriminatory laws, reforming policies and ending punitive practices.
Second, the updated Strategy needs to respond to the changing global health and development environment, anchoring the HIV/AIDS response within the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), and emphasizing the connections between a broad range of development and rights priorities. Fast-Track has already introduced ambitious prevention, treatment and human rights goals for 2020. The draft updated Strategy provides more implementation- and accountability-oriented global targets for 2020.
The science has never offered more potential; driving the ambition of donors and governments has never been more important. A strong UNAIDS Strategy will guide the work of UNAIDS and its partners with a focus on Fast-Tracking the response, and help unite stakeholders around a commitment to accelerated progress on treatment, prevention and human rights, with the goal of ending the AIDS epidemic.
All comments on the Strategy should be sent to email@example.com.
Chris Collins is Chief of the Community Mobilization Division at UNAIDS. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @chriscollinsgva. Updates and dialogue can be found on the Facebook civil society dialogue space.
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