New UNAIDS report 2019 calls for greater urgency and community leadership

New UNAIDS report 2019 calls for greater urgency and community leadership

South Africa has been able to reduce the number of new HIV infections by 40% since 2010. However, in other large countries, HIV is again increasing enormously. In Russia, new HIV infections increased by 29%, and in Brazil, the epidemic has grown by 22% since 2010. That is the disturbing picture UNAIDS' latest figures on the HIV epidemic, published today, shows; the fight against HIV/AIDS is far from over. The report makes it clear, for the first time, that the agreed goal of putting an end to AIDS by 2030 will not be achieved.

"Treating HIV is an effective form of prevention, because people with HIV who take medication continue to live healthily and no longer transmit the virus. It is shocking that with 23 million people with HIV on treatment, there are still so many new HIV infections. Success through effective action in one country is offset by failing policies in another. Where stigma and discrimination prevail against people with HIV and people who are at risk for HIV, we see the epidemic again growing alarmingly. This inequality must end. The end of AIDS is only possible if we focus on the people concerned with respect for their rights. An approach to the epidemic in which they are central and involved is the only formula for success."

Mark Vermeulen, Director Aidsfonds

Marginalised groups

The report shows that key populations and their sexual partners now account for more than half (54%) of new HIV infections globally. In 2018, key populations—including people who inject drugs, gay men and other men who have sex with men, transgender people, sex workers and prisoners—accounted for around 95% of new HIV infections in eastern Europe and central Asia and in the Middle East and North Africa. Moreover, UNAIDS points to a striking inequality between adults and children. Now that 62% of all people with HIV are on treatment, children with HIV, from 0 to 14 years old, are left behind. Only 55% of them were achieved with life-saving medicines.

Financing

The UNAIDS report makes it clear that the funding of the fight against AIDS worldwide is falling apart. Both international donors, such as Western countries including the Netherlands, and the national governments of the countries affected, are making less and less budget available. To continue progress towards ending AIDS, UNAIDS urges all partners to step up action and invest in the response, including by fully funding the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria with at least US$ 14 billion at its replenishment in October and through increasing bilateral and domestic funding for HIV.

"There are substantial new barriers in the fight against AIDS. We will no longer achieve goals that seemed feasible. We must now do everything in our power not to lose the battle. That requires political leadership. I call on the Netherlands to take action, by continuing to fulfil its unique role in the world by supporting those people who are most affected by HIV. But mainly by setting an example to the other Western donor countries. I call on the Netherlands to increase its financial contribution to the fight against AIDS by 20%. There is a chance for this coming autumn, when all donors from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, will announce their contribution." 

Mark Vermeulen, Director Aidsfonds 

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