Global summit focuses on HIV treatment targets as the way forward
Global leaders, leading academics, policy makers and people in the treatment industry and the HIV community are meeting in London this week for the annual summit, Controlling the HIV Epidemic with Antiretrovirals: Avoiding the Cost of Inaction. These stakeholders have all rallied behind the idea that ending the AIDS epidemic as a global health threat is possible, and within reach, if resources are pooled effectively.
Contributing to the goal of ending AIDS can only be achieved through effective use of available knowledge and tools, in addition to the development of new and ambitious targets for HIV treatment scale-up. The new UNAIDS 90-90-90 target is a good example of this. This target’s aim is that by 2020: 90 percent of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status; 90 percent of people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy; and 90 percent of people receiving antiretroviral therapy will be virally suppressed.
During the panel discussion a number of vital factors to reach the new target were discussed, including the need to value the importance of community engagement and leadership, and grounding the principles of human rights and inclusivity into HIV testing and treatment programmes. Additionally, efforts to promote knowledge of HIV status and delivery of HIV treatment must be voluntary in all cases. To ensure that key populations will benefit equally from the 90-90-90 targets, legal and policy changes to remove discriminatory deterrents to service uptake need to be made.
Michel Sidibe, UNAIDS Executive Director stated: "90–90–90 is about redistribution of opportunities. We need to rethink strategic information for strategic impact so we can invest where we have the maximum of people in need of antiretroviral treatment."