Frontline AIDS welcomes ‘ambitious’ UNAIDS targets on HIV prevention

Two young people watching a condom demonstration © Frontline AIDS/Peter Caton
The crisis in HIV prevention hits adolescent girls and young women particularly hard.

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has set out its new vision for HIV prevention in a global report launched ahead of World AIDS Day.

The UNAIDS report – Prevailing against pandemics by putting people at the centre – calls on countries to build on the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic and adopt a new set of ‘bold, ambitious but achievable’ HIV targets. Focusing on these targets, UNAIDS argues, will place the world back on track to end AIDS by 2030.

Responding to the report, Christine Stegling, Executive Director at Frontline AIDS, said:

“We have failed to meet the 2020 targets on ending AIDS, but this is not news.  For four years the number of new HIV infections has barely budged and in 2019 an estimated 1.7 million acquired HIV, far above the target of 500,000 a year by 2020.  Now UNAIDS estimates that disruptions from COVID-19 could lead to an additional 293,000 new HIV infections and 148,000 AIDS-related deaths.  Nothing less than an unprecedented effort will get us back on track.

“We welcome the new targets for 2025.  They are ambitious, proposing to reach 95% of people with HIV services.  They recognise that to do this, countries need to end stigma and discrimination and repeal laws that criminalise the populations most affected by HIV.  At Frontline AIDS we share this vision, but we must be challenging too.  UNAIDS has so far struggled to catalyse the political will needed to make these changes, so what is it going to do differently?

“The global response to COVID-19 has demonstrated that when faced with a crisis, governments will take unprecedented decisions.  It has shown too the essential role of communities, and we must place people living with HIV and the communities most affected at the centre of efforts to meet the 2025 targets.  We must also demand that governments finally take the brave decisions that are needed to end AIDS, and that donors keep funding the HIV response.  To persuade them, UNAIDS will need the right strategies, a willingness to sometimes be unpopular and a huge amount of tenacity.”


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