Aidsfonds calls for better TB HIV integration at Lung Health Conference

Aidsfonds calls for better TB HIV integration at Lung Health Conference

Aidsfonds urges the need to build better bridges between TB and HIV during the first day of the 49th Union World Conference on Lung Health. In the Community Space, communities, donors and civil society came together to discuss Dutch Engagement in TB and HIV.  During a vibrant panel discussion moderated by ICSS executive director Peter van Rooijen,  Aidsfonds, Global Fund, GNP+, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, KELIN and KNCV TB came together to contemplate how we can jointly accelerate our efforts, considering TB is the number 1 killer of people living with HIV.

2018 is an important year for both epidemics. The Netherlands shows its commitment by hosting both the AIDS 2018 and now the Union Conference. This year’s first-ever UN high Level Meeting on TB further emphasizes the urgency for all people affected. While 2018-momentum is much appreciated, panelists made clear that more work remains to be done.

“In both TB and HIV, we are far off-track in reaching our goals. The discourse on ending AIDS has led to a dangerous complacency”, said Louise van Deth (Executive Director Aidsfonds), echoing the words of Peter Piot during AIDS 2018.

 

Louise van Deth

Human rights to take center-stage

Central to the discussion is the need to increase investments in human rights and the community response, key populations in particular. A first sustainable step is better TB-HIV integration.

Dutch policy

Renet van der Waals from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Dianne Stewart from the Global Fund discussed the role of the Netherlands and the current Dutch policy on development aid. Even though the Netherlands is geographically focusing on West Africa, Horn of Africa and MENA region, it will still be possible to invest in other critical TB and HIV areas like Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Renet van Der Waals stated. Local civil society, genuine activism on the ground, is considered an important driver further underscoring the people-centered conference theme Declaring Our Rights: Social and Political Solutions.

TB-HIV integration

Participants agreed that we can improve, do better,  to integrate the TB and HIV response. Several speakers reconfirmed that our worlds  are not as far apart as we think.

Several panelists stated: “It’s often about stigma and leaving no one behind. That counts for both TB and HIV.”

A suggestion made by Aidsfonds  to integrate future International AIDS Conferences and Union Conferences altogether was well-received by the remaining panel members. In fact, better TB-HIV integration can indeed be stimulated by integrating the International AIDS Conference and Union Conference from here on, the panel concluded.

 

“We need to integrate HIV and TB, from a Human Rights-based approach, the Dutch are so strong on.”

- Allan Maleche

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