The 2011 UN High Level Meeting (HLM) on AIDS ended on 10 June with a Political Declaration that incorporates many of the fundamental requirements for effective prevention, as set out by this campaign.
Thank you to everyone who took action, but please stay tuned for further developments. From today, governments must start honouring their commitments so that the HIV response reaches those who most need it.
The Political Declaration, which will guide the global HIV/AIDS response for the next five years, recommits governments to Universal Access and setting measurable targets in reach and funding, and contains powerful language on key affected populations, human rights and strong accountability systems.
Highlights of the Political Declaration:
Recognition of men who have sex with men, people who use drugs and sex workers as key affected populations
For the first time, a UN Political Declaration on AIDS names these groups and acknowledges that many national HIV prevention strategies fail to focus on these populations. The text even sets a target to reduce transmission of HIV among people who inject drugs by 50 per cent by 2015.
Very regrettably the text does not mention transgender people at all.
Prevention at the cornerstone of the HIV response
The declaration considers that HIV prevention is vital but that spending is insufficient to mount an effective global HIV prevention response, and often doesn’t focus on populations who are most at risk. It also acknowledges that the global prevention response is often uncoordinated and not evidence-based. It commits to redouble HIV prevention efforts by taking all measures to implement comprehensive, evidence-based prevention approaches, and ensure that national prevention strategies comprehensively target populations at higher risk.
Commitment to an evidence-based response and a stronger accountability framework
The Declaration commits to ensure that systems of data collection and analysis about populations that are most at risk are strengthened, and to revise the UNGASS core indicators proposed this year by the end of 2012 and “where necessary, to strengthen national, regional and global coordination and monitoring mechanisms of HIV and AIDS responses”.
Human rights values in the HIV response
The declaration commits to national HIV and AIDS strategies that promote and protect human rights, including programmes aimed at eliminating stigma and discrimination against people living with and affected by HIV. It gives particular attention to all people vulnerable to and affected by HIV and commits to “monitoring the impact of the legal environment on HIV prevention, treatment, care and support” and to intensifying “national efforts to create enabling legal, social and policy frameworks in each national context in order to eliminate stigma, discrimination and violence related to HIV.”
Emphasising the role of community-based responses to HIV
The Political Declaration endorses the community approach response to HIV recognising “the role that community organizations play, including those run by people living with HIV, in sustaining national and local HIV and AIDS responses…and strengthening health systems, in particular the primary healthcare approach.”