The reality of beginning the end of AIDS
A series of articles by guest writers for World AIDS Day 2012
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.
The war against AIDS is facing a critical battle between now and 2015, and it’s essential that resources and attention are mobilized to win it. Victory will deliver an AIDS Free Generation, the first in 30 years since HIV was diagnosed and named. Much progress and momentum has been made, particularly in the last decade. Primarily through the work of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), more than half of the people needing lifesaving treatment around the world are now receiving it – 8 million people, up from only 300,000 in 2002. 2003 saw the peak in new childhood HIV infections, with an average of more than 1,500 babies being born with HIV every day. Treatment exists to prevent transmission, and it costs only 40 cents per day. The efforts of world leaders, the global health community, and local governments have driven the number of new childhood infections down each year, and since 2009, the number has fallen by 24 percent. Today, just over 900 babies are born daily with the virus, and by 2015, that number can be near zero.
(RED) is dedicated to helping the global health community in achieving the 2015 goal to end vertical transmission and deliver the AIDS Free Generation, a key benchmark in ending a pandemic that has taken over 30 million lives. (RED) was founded in 2006 as an innovative business model that would create a sustainable flow of private sector funding to the Global Fund while raising awareness of the fight against AIDS. By this World AIDS Day, (RED) will have delivered $200 million to the Global Fund – 40 times the amount the Fund was able to generate from the private sector in its first four years – helping to fulfil the Fund’s public-private mission. (RED) money has supported Global Fund HIV/AIDS grants that have impacted over 14 million people affected by AIDS in Africa.
It is important to remember that sustained funding is dependent upon sustained interest, and so the fact that collectively (RED)’s partners constitute the largest business sector contributor to the Global Fund shows not only that the (RED) model works, but that many of the world’s best companies and their consumers care about this issue and choose to take action.
“Noise generates urgency and action … the might of the global community can make the AIDS Free Generation a reality”
Though funding is critically important, the (RED) partners bring an even greater power to the fight. The world’s biggest brands – such as Apple, Coca-Cola, and Starbucks – have stepped up and brought their marketing prowess, international reach, and social media influence to the table to fight AIDS. The beauty in this is that (RED) is just the spark that sets these companies in motion to innovate, collaborate, and amplify the goal of delivering an AIDS Free Generation by 2015.
But let’s not forget that (RED) works because people want their everyday actions to have a social impact. In 2006, the private sector responded with offering (PRODUCT)RED items that when purchased, would trigger a company to give a portion of the profit directly to the Global Fund. Since then, (RED) has evolved its partnership model to give people more ways to be (RED) – for example through checking-in on foursquare at Starbucks or purchasing your favourite artist’s concert tickets on CrowdSurge. Through 2015, you will see (RED) continuing to tap into the Zeitgeist to engage young people in the fight, whether that is through electronic dance music, online shopping, or social gaming … stay tuned!
Adding numbers to the world’s ever-growing army of socially conscious advocates remains at the top of (RED)’s priorities. (RED) has amassed over 3 million members on Facebook and Twitter and regularly engages them to learn about the goal of an AIDS Free Generation and to take action. When the (RED) message is then amplified by the most powerful brands in the world and by (RED)’s celebrity friends, we have the potential to reach over 300 million people. Together, with advocates from government, academia, NGOs, and faith-based organizations, we can create a lot of noise. Noise generates urgency and action … the might of the global community can make the AIDS Free Generation a reality by 2015 and prove to the world that the war against AIDS is a winnable one.
Deborah Dugan is the Chief Executive Officer of (RED).
See further information on who gives money to the Global Fund.
Images: 'Banner', copyright: (RED). 'Deborah Dugan', 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.