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AIDS status & challenges of the epidemic

6. What strategies are recommended by UNAIDS to halt and reverse the epidemic?

  • 6.1 Recommendation #1: Sustain and increase commitment and leadership
  • 6.2 Recommendation #2: Sustain and increase financing
  • 6.3 Recommendation #3: Aggressively address AIDS-related stigma and discrimination
HIV positive mother and child, Ukraine
HIV positive mother and child, Ukraine

AIDS is exceptional and the response to AIDS must be equally exceptional. Over the last 25 years nearly 65 million people were infected with HIV and about 25 million have died of AIDS-related illnesses. Today, nearly 40 million people are living with HIV and the vast majority of them do not know that they are infected.

Note: numbers are based on estimates made in 2005, which were revised in 2007. See the  2007 UNAIDS report for the latest estimates.

However, the considerable efforts made since 2001 are insufficient and progress is uneven within and between countries and regions. To be able to slow, stop and reverse the epidemic, countries need to plan the long-term fight against AIDS rather than simply deal with crises.

UNAIDS makes a series of recommendations. More...

6.1 Recommendation #1: Sustain and increase commitment and leadership

AIDS is a matter of extreme national importance and therefore governments and heads of state need to be active and outspoken about their commitment to implement strategies that involve multiple sectors.

Countries need to include programmes to fight AIDS into their general development plans with the full and active participation of civil society and the private sector, ensuring full accountability of all partners and transparent reporting on progress made in the country or region. More...

6.2 Recommendation #2: Sustain and increase financing

Although the overall spending on AIDS has increased greatly, the money available today may be just one-third of what will be required to deal with the growing epidemic in a few years’ time.

National governments and international donors should give significantly more money for AIDS through the Global Fund and other mechanisms. Governments, especially in middle-income countries, should continue efforts to provide an important part of the money spent in their nation from their national budgets. The money raised must be used as efficiently and effectively as possible so that it works for people in need, by coordinating national efforts around one agreed AIDS action framework, one national coordinating authority and one agreed country-level monitoring and evaluation system.

Innovative approaches, such as new international financing mechanisms, are needed to ensure that money for AIDS will be available in the future for a much stronger response to the epidemic. More...

6.3 Recommendation #3: Aggressively address AIDS-related stigma and discrimination

To stop the AIDS pandemic, it is essential to change the social norms, attitudes and behaviours that contribute to its expansion. Action against AIDS-related stigma and discrimination must be supported by top leadership and at every level of society, and must address women’s empowerment, homophobia, attitudes towards sex workers and injecting drug users, and social norms that affect sexual behaviour—including those that contribute to the low status and powerlessness of women and girls.

Therefore, it is essential to pass, publicize, and enforce laws and policies that protect women and girls against discrimination and sexual violence and to prevent discrimination against people perceived to be at a higher risk of having HIV, such as sex workers, injecting drug users and men who have sex with men. In addition, women need to be adequately represented in policy and decision-making on AIDS.

To reduce HIV-related stigma, it is also essential that barriers to universal access to education such as school fees, compulsory school uniforms or textbook charges be addressed or removed. More...

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