Let’s fight for what matters to end AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria


  • Opinion by Winnie Byanyima (Geneva)
  • Inter Press Service

A successful replenishment of the Global Fund will help strengthen the fight against three of today’s deadliest diseases and build more resilient national health systems that can withstand tomorrow’s shocks.

Financing needs are particularly pressing in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that has caused such a serious disruption to the delivery of essential health care, including HIV treatment, prevention and care.

The latest data from UNAIDS has revealed a faltering global response to HIV, exacerbated by a continued decline in resources. About 650,000 people died from AIDS-related diseases last year, and tuberculosis remained a leading cause of death among people living with HIV.

There were also 1.5 million new HIV infections – more than a million more than the global target. The number of new infections fell by just 3.6% between 2020-2021, the smallest annual decrease since 2016. The number of new infections increased in 38 countries.

Infections remain disproportionately common among young women and adolescent girls aged 15-24, with a new infection every two minutes. The gender-based HIV impact, particularly for young African women and girls, has occurred amid severe disruptions to HIV treatment and prevention services, millions of girls forced out of school, and spikes in teenage pregnancies and gender-based violence.

In sub-Saharan Africa, adolescent girls and young women are three times more likely to get HIV than adolescent boys and young men. Vulnerable groups of people worldwide, such as gay men and other men who have sex with men, have also been disproportionately affected during service interruptions.

If we don’t more effectively prevent young people from getting HIV now, especially young women and adolescent girls, there will be millions more infections and deaths and the resources needed to end AIDS will increase further.

Stigma and discrimination driving the epidemic among marginalized and criminalized groups of people need to be addressed, including through legal reforms. And bolder action needs to be taken to ensure that children with HIV receive antiretroviral therapy as a matter of course – currently only half of HIV-positive children receive life-saving treatment.

Giving young people a chance to live takes investment. But international solidarity in the fight against HIV and other global health threats is fraying. At a time when global leadership and increased funding are most needed, too many high-income countries are cutting aid and severely jeopardizing resources for global health.

In 2021, international resources available for HIV were 6% lower than in 2010. Foreign aid for HIV from bilateral donors other than the United States of America has fallen by 57% over the past decade. The HIV response in low- and middle-income countries is $8 billion less than needed by 2025.

In addition, global trade rules hamper the production of pandemic-ending drugs, including new and emerging long-acting HIV drugs, in low- and middle-income countries, and keep prices prohibitively high.

The United States has already pledged $6 billion to the 7th Global Fund Replenishment, but it is dependent on other donors committed to fully reaching the $18 billion goal. Since its inception in 2001, the Global Fund has saved millions of lives by reducing the impact of HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. It must be fully funded to carry out its work – and its partners as well.

Recognizing the complementarity between the work of the Global Fund and UNAIDS, the US has also increased its contribution to UNAIDS by $5 million by 2022. UNAIDS is on the ground in countries collecting the data that shapes HIV response, enabling the removal of harmful laws and policies and ending HIV-related stigma and discrimination, and creating an enabling environment in which investments can be most effective. Its work is essential to maximizing the effectiveness of the national programs funded by the Global Fund.

United Nations member states are committed to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to ensure health and well-being for all, to achieve universal health coverage and to build a more prosperous, just and sustainable world.

We can end AIDS. If we succeed – and the data is clear we can – it will save millions of lives, be a pivotal moment for a healthier, safer planet and a triumph of international cooperation.

But the investment is needed today. Let’s fight for what counts.

Winnie Byanyima is Executive Director of UNAIDS and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Footnote: US President Joe Biden will host the Global Fund’s Seventh Replenishment Conference on September 21 in New York City. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, established in 2002, is described as a unique funding mechanism based on a dynamic partnership between governments, the private sector and civil society to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria. in ways that contribute to strengthening health systems.

IPS UN Office

Follow IPS News UN Bureau on Instagram

© Inter Press Service (2022) — All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service

Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here