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AIDS: Challenges ahead

Dec 12, 2008

UNAIDS latest report AIDS Outlook 2009 presents some of the most pressing issues confronting policymakers today as they respond to AIDS. A combined HIV prevention strategy involving the right mix of behavioural, biomedical and structural actions is needed to help those most at risk.

AIDS Outlook 2009

Publisher: UNAIDS, November 2008

This report is an opportunity for reflection on what it has been possible to achieve with leadership as well as for refocusing on some key areas that are impeding progress. It is not a “how to manual” or a “policy statement”, but provides insights based on evidence on new ways to build on and improve the AIDS response.

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It begins by highlighting some recent achievements and challenges in addressing HIV. It provides examples of how countries are applying modelling techniques to better understand HIV incidence, with the aim of reinvigorating HIV prevention.

While measurable progress has been achieved with regard to increased access to treatment but not similar impact has been made when it comes to HIV prevention.

What is most worrying is that for every two people put on treatment, five others are newly infected. Add to this an evolving new challenge: the global financial crisis, raising the spectre of funding cutbacks, which would have harmful impacts throughout the developing world generally and in the AIDS response in particular.

It is very hard to set the formula in advance, but when we see it, we can recognise the synergies between different elements—creation of political space that puts AIDS on the table as an issue; compassionate and inclusive responses triumphing over stigma; rising awareness instead of studied ignorance; and a willingness to upset existing power relations between women and men or young and old.

AIDS Outlook relies upon both estimates of HIV prevalence and impact from data collected from around the world—as well as perspectives from those responding to AIDS in countries and communities. Joining data with instrumental voices will help to identify the debates needed and decisions required for countries as they plan their future strategies.

The report also includes an interview with UNAIDS Executive Director Dr Peter Piot where, on the eve of his departure after 14 years as head of the organisation, he reflects on past milestones and future challenges of the AIDS epidemic.

Source : UNAIDS
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