Without a strong Dutch commitment, we won’t win the fight against AIDS

Without a strong Dutch commitment, we won’t win the fight against AIDS

This week, world leaders are invited by the French President Macron to pledge their financial support to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. In the last months, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, among others already announced a significant increase in their contribution. In doing so, they are responding to the fund’s urgent request to give considerably more if we are to win the battle against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Recent figures and data show that the fight against these three epidemics will go off course unless action is taken now. Despite the undeniable necessity, it seems that the Netherlands, traditionally at the forefront of the fight against AIDS, does not intend to respond to the Global Fund’s call.

This summer, UNAIDS, the UN organisation for HIV and AIDS, announced that the internationally agreed goals are far out of reach. One of the goals set for 2020 is to reduce the number of HIV infections to 500,000. In reality, there were more than 1.7 million in 2018, three times as many. Every day, more than 2,000 people die of AIDS worldwide and many more contract HIV. Behind these numbers are real people, often from vulnerable groups. Every day, around 800 young women become infected with HIV, who cannot properly protect themselves against HIV due to gender inequality. Gay men in Russia, who have no access to information, prevention and care due to anti-gay legislation. The AIDS epidemic particularly hits those affected by inequality, stigma and exclusion. The AIDS crisis is still a present-day reality.

Since 2002, the Global Fund has contributed globally to help save 27 million lives. The fund is considered to be one of the best performing and most effective multilateral organisations in the world – also thanks to the support from the Dutch government. It is a model of international cooperation at a time when this is under increasing pressure. To bring the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria back on track, the fund stated loud and clear that at least 15% more financial support is needed in the coming years.

The choice is clear. For the fight against AIDS, carrying on as usual means that we will need many more generations to end this destructive epidemic, while the epidemic is even rekindling in some countries. More and more people are contracting HIV worldwide, making it increasingly complicated, expensive and in some cases impossible to provide them with lifelong medication. Now is the time to do everything we can to ensure that the epidemic comes to an end in the next 20 to 30 years. Only by scaling up the fight now, with respect for all groups of people, can we stop AIDS within one generation. We have the knowledge, we know what to do. Now we need the resources.

In its development policy, the Dutch government states that it wants to focus specifically on protecting sexual rights and vulnerable groups, and furthermore states that global collaboration is important. We strongly support that policy. Investing in the Global Fund fully upholds these principles. It is, therefore, striking that in the fight against AIDS, the Netherlands is heading towards a ‘business as usual’ approach and is not prepared to go that extra mile. We therefore urgently call on the government to increase its contribution to the Global Fund by at least 15%, thereby making an AIDS-free generation possible.


Mark Vermeulen, director AIDSFONDS

Tim Cole, Europe Executive Director ONE

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