Getting to zero
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—zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths—was unimaginable just a decade ago. But by moving from commitment to action remarkable results have been achieved.
For the first time in the history of AIDS, the number of people on antiretroviral treatment exceeds the number of people eligible and waiting. In sub-Saharan Africa, where the epidemic has had its most devastating impact, AIDS-related deaths have fallen dramatically as record numbers of people now have access to the life-saving medicines. Fewer children are being born with HIV––and the rate of new HIV infections has fallen in almost every part of the world.
For the first time, countries most affected by the epidemic are increasing their domestic contributions as shared responsibility and global solidarity for AIDS take root.
“The world must seize this opportunity to carefully and skilfully craft a path to the end of AIDS.”
But it's decision time and the world can and must do more to increase the gains already made. The gap in available funding and investment needed is around US$ 7 billion. Just as countries are doing more, so must the international community. The most marginalised in society are still not benefitting from equitable access to essential HIV services and the number of people eligible remains in the millions.
What we do for the AIDS response is not just about access to medicines and HIV services—it’s about deepening our relationships with society, laying a foundation for social justice, finding local solutions for sustainability, developing innovative ways to end the resource gap, and creating synergies to improve maternal health and achieve wider health outcomes. That is the promise we must make for future generations.
We have before us a perfect convergence of opportunities to turn this promise into a reality: stabilising economies, renewed political will across the globe, a set of clear and achievable goals for 2015 and a roadmap to guide our steps. The world must seize this opportunity to carefully and skilfully craft a path to the end of AIDS. We must redouble our efforts for the AIDS response and act decisively.
By harnessing our collective strengths we can get to zero.
Michel Sidibé is the Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations.
For further information on 'getting to zero' see AVERT's page on Universal Access.
Images: 'Michel Sidibé at AIDS 2012', copyright AVERT and 'Community Reception for Executive Director of UNAIDS, Mr Michel Sidibé', copyright acon online.
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.