UNAIDS is calling on countries to step up global action and propose bold new HIV targets for 2025.
The Executive Director of UNAIDS, Winnie Byanyima, said in order to put the global response back on track, it will require putting people first and tackling the inequalities on which epidemics thrive.
While noting that the collective failure to invest sufficiently in comprehensive, rights-based, people-centred HIV responses has come at a terrible price. “Implementing just the most politically palatable programmes will not turn the tide against COVID-19 or end AIDS.
As COVID-19 pushes the AIDS response even further off track, and the 2020 targets are missed, UNAIDS is urging countries to learn from the lessons of underinvesting in health, and to step up global action to end AIDS and other pandemics”.
The statement added that insufficient investment and action on HIV and other pandemics left the world exposed to COVID-19.
“Had health systems and social safety nets been even stronger, the world would have been better positioned to slow the spread of COVID-19 and withstand its impact. COVID-19 has shown that investments in health save lives, but also provide a foundation for strong economies. Health and HIV programmes must be fully funded, both in times of plenty and in times of economic crisis.”
Byanyima went on to further state that a challenge of this type can only be defeated by forging global solidarity.
“No country can defeat these pandemics on its own. The world must learn from the mistakes of the HIV response, when millions in developing countries died waiting for treatment. Even today, more than 12 million people still do not have access to HIV treatment and 1.7 million people became infected with HIV in 2019 because they did not have access to essential HIV services.”
UNAIDS and partners are calling on pharmaceutical companies to openly share their technology and know-how.
“They should wave their intellectual property rights, so that the world can produce successful vaccines at the huge scale and speed required to protect everyone.
In view of recent development, UNAIDS has been a leading advocate for a People’s Vaccine against COVID-19. Promising COVID-19 vaccines are emerging, but we must ensure that they are not the privilege of the rich.”