Global Fund: strong results but must increase focus on prevention

Results published today by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria show the organisation’s major contribution to improved global health, with 32 million lives saved since 2002. However, Frontline AIDS is concerned that HIV prevention is lagging behind other interventions.

The Global Fund estimates that it reached 8.3 million people with HIV prevention services in 2018, 4.6 million of whom were from key populations. This is a reduction from 2017, which saw 9.4 million reached, including 4.9 million from key populations. This is a worrying decline, given that recent figures from UNAIDS show that new HIV infections remain stubbornly high, with an estimated 1.7 million people newly infected in 2018. More than half of these infections were among marginalised people, such as gay men and other men who have sex with men, transgender people, sex workers and people who use drugs. These people often face additional difficulties accessing regular, effective HIV treatment in places that criminalise or discriminate against them.

Since 2002, there has been a 56% decline in AIDS-related deaths in countries receiving Global Fund support. In 2018 alone, the Global Fund provided 125 million HIV tests, supported access to antiretroviral treatment for 18.9 million people and ensured that more than 700,000 expectant mothers accessed HIV treatment to keep them and their babies healthy.

“The Global Fund continues to be a major force for good in global public health but we should be under no illusions – the world is now facing a crisis in HIV prevention,” said Christine Stegling, Executive Director of Frontline AIDS. “Frontline AIDS partners stand ready to do more with the Global Fund to tackle new HIV infections. If we are to achieve the 2030 target of zero new infections, working with communities on HIV prevention, especially among marginalised people, must be at the core of what we do.”

Frontline AIDS partners played a significant role in helping the Global Fund to achieve its 2018 results. The India HIV/AIDS Alliance is implementing the Global Fund-supported Vihaan programme, which supported more than 1.3 million people to enrol in treatment and care programmes in 2018 and, in Cote D’Ivoire, ANS-CI’s Global Fund project provided a comprehensive package of treatment, care and support to almost 35,000 people living with HIV.

Additionally more than 200 Global Fund grantees have received support from Frontline Technical Assistance to strengthen their governance processes, financial management and programme delivery.

On October 10, donors and partners will meet in Lyon, France, for the Global Fund’s sixth replenishment conference. The Fund is asking for US$ 14 billion to support its work to save a further 16 million lives and halve the mortality rate of HIV, TB and malaria by 2023.

“We are encouraged that donors are already stepping up and increasing their commitments to the Global Fund,” added Mrs Stegling. “They are sending a strong signal that AIDS is not over, and that tackling HIV, TB and malaria remains absolutely critical to the health of people around the world.”

 

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Global FundHIV prevention and treatment