Thirty years after the World Health Organization (WHO) created World AIDS Day, HIV/AIDS is no longer a fatal disease for people who have access to testing and treatment. Today, three out of four people living with HIV know their status. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, working alongside PEPFAR and UNAIDS, has played an outsized role in financing this progress.
The impact of Global Fund dollars is clear. Their contributions have helped support 17.5 million people on antiretroviral therapy, helped 696,000 HIV-positive women give birth to HIV-free babies, reached 9.4 million people with HIV prevention programs and services, and tested nearly 80 million people for HIV in 2017.
But there is still much work to be done.
Estimates show that only roughly 60% of those who are HIV-positive are currently on lifesaving antiretroviral medications. One-quarter of people don’t even know they are HIV-positive. Stigma and discrimination still stop people from getting tested or seeking treatment.
This year’s World AIDS Day theme is “know your status”; by taking this critical step everyone can play a role in helping prevent transmission. Thanks to investments from global partners, we now have more testing tools than ever before. However, we must continue to help countries strengthen their health systems for testing and treatment through robust financial support for effective international partnerships – including the Global Fund.
The Global Fund, which plays a critical role in funding HIV/AIDS prevention, testing, and treatment by mobilizing and investing funds to accelerate the end of AIDS, will be working to replenish its resources in 2019. To end the epidemic, we need political will and robust investments by government and private sector donors to the Global Fund at its replenishment conference in France next October.
This World AIDS Day on December 1, we remember those we have lost and celebrate the tremendous progress we have made. But we also redouble our efforts and turn our eyes toward what needs to be done to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target to end the epidemic by 2030.
Ending HIV/AIDS is a litmus test for mobilizing the cooperation needed to achieve other SDGs. As the joint International AIDS Society-Lancet Commission Report on the Future of Global Health and the HIV Response said:
“If the world cannot follow through on HIV, which prompted such an unprecedented global mobilization, hopes for achieving the ambitious health aims outlined in the SDGs will inevitably dim.”
This global mobilization must continue at the Global Fund Replenishment if we are to defeat this disease. We have come too far to let up now and lose the tremendous gains in both health and prosperity that we’ve made through support from the Global Fund and other global partners.
TAKE ACTION: Learn more about the Global Fund’s impact and what steps you can take to support the Global Fund.
Photo: Global Fund