First published on www.huffingtonpost.com
By Chris Beyrer, IAS President
Last week´s United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) High Level Meeting (HLM) on Ending AIDS in New York was both inspiring and painful. The exclusion of civil society organizations was profoundly wrong - but the commitment of so many great activists, scientists and political leaders was so heartening. The Political Resolution, which finally emerged was weak on inclusion, and arguably a setback for our global efforts to end AIDS. But then, Ambassador Debbie Birx, the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) lead, announced US$ 100 million for a Key Populations Investment Fund, giving renewed hope to the fight for full inclusion of LGBT, sex workers, and people who inject drugs in the HIV response.
I wanted to celebrate with colleagues and friends the enormous progress we have made in responding to the epidemic. Some 17 million people are now on antiretroviral treatment (ART) and some 80% of those people live in sub-Saharan Africa. Two decades ago people said it just could not be done but as we know events at the International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa in 2000 largely changed all that, and it will indeed be a source of pride to many who attend the conference on its return to Durban in a month´s time to reflect on just how far we have come. But there is still a long way to go.
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