A future of possibilities
A series of articles by guest writers for World AIDS Day
Part of AVERT's World AIDS Day 2012 campaign, ‘Reflections on the Epidemic’ are a series of articles by guest writers.
Our guest writers range from global leaders, writers, experts, activists, physicians and people personally affected by HIV and AIDS; and they represent various countries, experiences and backgrounds from all over the world.
We are grateful to all our guest writers for their effort and the diverse and insightful viewpoints that they contributed to the world’s response to HIV and AIDS.
You can also see all articles and writers in this series at the end of every article.
“Getting to Zero” has been the slogan for World AIDS Day since 2011 and will remain so until 2015, coinciding with the Millennium Development Goal target of halting and beginning to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS. A daring statement – but a vision within reach, which I was ever dreaming of since I started my organisation AIDS LIFE in 1992 and Europe´s biggest AIDS Charity Event, the Life Ball, in 1993.
The past three decades have witnessed tremendous biomedical and behavioural advances in preventing, diagnosing and treating HIV and AIDS. No doubt that we have made substantial progress in confronting HIV/AIDS since it was first described. But still 7 million have no access to treatment.[fn]UNAIDS (2012) 'Global Fact Sheet 2012: World AIDS Day 2012'[/fn] And we continue to face challenges. Identifying effective prevention packages for at-risk populations and bringing them to scale, modifying health care and other systems so that they can work efficiently across organisational boundaries, and altering the social determinants that impede individuals and communities from living healthy lives.
More than 30 million people have died of HIV-related causes so far.[fn]WHO (2012) ‚'Global Health Observatory'[/fn] With profound sadness, we recognize that HIV has brought premature deaths to millions – and behind these millions are families, partners, spouses, co-workers and neighbours who have been permanently affected by the loss of someone held dear.
Yes, we do have the science to eventually get to zero and end AIDS. But the road is full of barriers, bolstered by the stigma of marginalised groups. In many cases that stigma is driven by government policies that continue to maintain and enforce repressive policies toward those groups.
But today we also celebrate the many lives that have been restored and are benefiting from the services the government and NGOs offer across the world – and we look to a future of possibilities.
Gery Keszler is the Founder of AIDS LIFE and the Chief Executive Officer of Life Ball.
For further information about how stigma and discrimination affect the global HIV epidemic, see AVERT's page.
Images: 'Life Ball 2008', copyright Zorro-art and 'Gery Keszler' courtesy of author.
Meeting the challenge of stigma in Iran
Words are not enough: Where is the genuine support for an AIDS-free generation?
Going beyond the silver bullet approach
A new generation of awareness
Mothers at the forefront of change
A few simple actions against AIDS
The reality of beginning the end of AIDS
In the balance — HIV and the Law
Striving for an AIDS free generation of adolescents
A broken unity: An American reflection on the epidemic
Universal access for people who use drugs: Not just a pipe dream
In pursuit of a cure
The future of antiretroviral treatment
Ending paediatric AIDS
A future of possibilities
Riding the waves of HIV
The Paediatric HIV response in the context of AIDS optimism
HIV/AIDS Care begins at home
HIV/AIDS in Uganda: Myth to reality
Why beauty is a great weapon in the fight against HIV/AIDS
HIV Walk, unravels the epidemic
The importance of Parliamentary voices in the AIDS response
Women breaking the stereotype
Resources for a rights based approach to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic
AIDS - It’s not over
Backing the community response
Gogo-getters become elders
Getting to zero
The search for common humanity at the heart of the AIDS response
AIDS is still hot in India
Why involve women with HIV?
All opinions expressed in 'Reflections on the Epidemic' do not necessarily represent those of AVERT.