Political Leaders Across Asia Pacific Countries Must Embrace “The Path That End AIDS”.
A new report titled “The Path that End AIDS” was released on July 13, 2023, in The Historic Palais des Nations Geneva, Switzerland, by UNAIDS. The report underscores the existence of a clear and achievable path to ending AIDS. This path will also help to facilitate preparedness for future pandemics and propels advancement towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Featuring comprehensive data and compelling case studies, the report emphasizes that ending AIDS is both a political and financial choice, while highlighting the remarkable outcomes by countries and leaders tha have embraced this path.
In the context of Asia Pacific, notable progress has been made by Thailand and Cambodia in their journey towards achieving the target of ending AIDS. Cambodia, in particular, has witnessed significant advancements with an achievement rate of 86-99-98 86-99-98. Over the course of a decade, concerted efforts from governments, bilateral and multilateral partners, civil society organizations, PLHIV communities, key populations, and development partners at various sectors and levels have contributed to this success Cambodia is at a pivotal moment; The Royal Cambodian Government has committed to increase annual investment from USD 3.6 million in 2021 to USD 6.6 million, specifically allocated to fund the fight against HIV from 2024 to 2028 – a commendable endeavor. Cambodia also recently became a member of the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board and strongly supports political commitment, evidence-based responses, a focus on HIV prevention, and community engagement.
Countries in our region are on the verge to achieving the 95-95-95 target. APN+, through support from UNAIDS, has been working together with its country members to eliminate every form of HIV-related stigma and discrimination. While certain countries in the Asia Pacific region have already embraced this path and are utilizing available tools to ensure effective outcomes, there remain certain aspects that require increased attention, specifically addressing human rights and eliminating disparities in accessing services and resources. To sustain progress, we also need to build and maintain political commitment. Although some countries have made commendable efforts by actively engaging communities, that alone is not enough.
“We call on political leaders to stop thinking of our work as optional or as voluntary, as community action holds immense significance and deserves recognition, respect, and adequate allocation of resources”. These sentiments were emphasized by Harry Prabowo, the Programme Manager of APN+, during the launch of UNAIDS Global AIDS Update.
According to the report, ending AIDS cannot be achieved without the support of political leaders. It highlights several areas that require improvement, including:
- Every minute in 2022, a person dies to AIDS.
- Approximately 9.2 million individuals, including 660,000 children living with HIV, are still not receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART).
- 59% of people surveyed exhibit discriminatory attitudes towards people living with HIV (PLHIV).
- Globally, 4,000 women and young girls contract HIV each week in 2022.
- In Asia and the Pacific, where new infections are rapidly increasing in certain countries, nearly a quarter (23%) of new HIV infections occur.
The report attributes this trend primarily to the absence of HIV prevention services for marginalized populations and the barriers imposed by punitive laws and societal discrimination.
“There is now an opportunity to end AIDS by increasing political will by investing in sustainable responses to HIV through financing that matters most: evidence-based HIV prevention and treatment, health system integration, non-discriminatory laws, gender equality, and empowered communities. network,” UNAIDS said in a statement.
Full Report: https://shorturl.at/lrvCI