Letter to Patners- UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé
- Last Updated on Monday, 16 April 2012 18:31
- Published on Monday, 16 April 2012 18:10
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At the recent African Union Conference of Ministers of Economy and Finance I was struck that the traditional lines drawn between ministries of health and finance, between
investment and development have been rightly blurred. These artificial divisions no longer reflect world realities. And it is for this reason I am especially pleased that UNAIDS has
signed a new agreement with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).
Together we will forge a new alliance demonstrating Africa’s leadership in the AIDS response. It’s one of the many exciting developments and possibilities this year presents us.
The fourth decade of the epidemic has barely begun, yet we can already see how greatly it will differ from the three already past. The pain and the loss are not over, nor is the risk that missteps or a loss of heart could reverse our hard-won gains. But a new word has entered our lexicon. It is on the lips of people living with HIV, activists, health workers, policy makers and world leaders. It signals a new vision and carries with it a new sense of energy, hope and potential. The word could make 2012 a most memorable year if it truly informs and directs our efforts in every sector of society and every region of the world. That word is zero.
Getting to zero means working together to create a world with zero new HIV infections,zero discrimination, and zero AIDS-related deaths. Our vision has united diverse partners behind a political commitment and a strategic plan to address the central challenges we face. We have articulated specific, measurable targets for 2015 in the United Nations 2011 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS, identified the steps required to achieve them and inspired world leaders to speak openly of a prospect that only recently seemed far-fetched.
In short, we have built a foundation from which we can now credibly envision an AIDS-free generation.
The challenge is to stay focused despite a gathering storm of new challenges. While expanding access to established prevention strategies and treatment regimens, we must also augment and in some cases supplant them with better ones. After nearly a decade of resource growth, we have entered a period of shrinking and uncertain commitments. The era of emergency relief is ending, and we have yet to develop a more sustainable response to succeed it.
To get to zero—and realize our ambitious goals for 2015—we must find ways to get broader access and better outcomes with available resources.
The future costs that HIV imposes on people, families, communities and countries will be determined by how the AIDS response adapts to emerging challenges and new opportunities. Choices will be shaped by finite resources, evolving global priorities and the types of new alliances forged. Success or failure will be determined by how well HIV prevention programmes are focused, how the next generation of treatment is delivered,and the strength of our collective commitment to human rights, gender equality and greater involvement of people living with HIV.
The global economic crisis has slowed global AIDS funding but has not stopped realresults from being delivered or diminished the hope. The global community—all countries of the world and all sectors of society—must recommit to innovation, integration and implementation if we are to reach our shared and achievable goals.
In short, the global AIDS response has reached a new critical juncture, and this year will be pivotal. Destiny is in our hands, and we must mould it while we can.