aidsfocus news

aidsfocus news
August 2016

Aug 16, 2016


“From New York to Durban”

Dear aidsfocus readers

We have made considerable progress: since the last AIDS conference in Durban in 2000, 17 million HIV infected people now have access to treatment. Back then, containing the HI virus was the first step; today funding, human rights and social justice are taking priority. In 2000 the discussion revolved around the inequality between rich people and the poor who had no access to HIV treatment. Today it is above all about overcoming the inequality between marginalised groups such as sex workers, men who have sex with men, drug-users, prisoners and “the others”.

In the words of Charlize Theron during the opening speech at the 21st International AIDS Conference: “Sex is not transmitting HIV, sexism is, and racism is, and homophobia is”.

In spite of the significant advances, the end of AIDS is still far from being in sight. Today we are once again facing a great amount of indifference, funding is decreasing and far too many governments are refusing to address human rights and questions of social justice. The price of inaction is too high.

On 8 June this year the new 2016 United Nations General Assembly Political Declaration “On the Fast-Track to Accelerate the Fight against HIV and to End the AIDS Epidemic by 2030” was adopted in New York. All governments in the world agreed with the statement that the HIV epidemic remains a global emergency and poses an immense challenge. They committed themselves to realising the “UNAIDS fast-track approach 90-90-90” by 2020. It is only in the implementation that there is a lack of consensus... It requires more than just participating in a conference and stating good intentions!

This month’s newsletter from spotlights the new political declaration on HIV/AIDS and the International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa “From New York to Durban”.

Carine Weiss


Project Leader, Medicus Mundi Switzerland

Topic of the month

From New York to Durban

On 8 June this year the new 2016 United Nations General Assembly Political Declaration “On the Fast-Track to Accelerate the Fight against HIV and to End the AIDS Epidemic by 2030” was adopted in New York. It was the first formal high-level meeting in the fight against HIV/AIDS following the announcement of Agenda 2030 in September 2015.


AIDS 2016

The end of the end of AIDS

he World Bank / Blog - "The recent Durban 2016 International AIDS Conference celebrates the success of AIDS treatment in reducing illness and death. The pall of despair and wasting death that hung over the Durban 2000 International AIDS Conference has truly been lifted. In KwaZulu-Natal, where the conference was held, AIDS treatment has increased community life expectancy by a full 11 years, reversing decades of decline -- life expectancy in KwaZulu-Natal is higher today than before the HIV epidemic. This is indubitably one of the great successes of global health. (Blog by David Wilson)


Hope for 'end of Aids' is disappearing, experts warn

The Guardian - "Those fighting epidemic say 2030 target is unrealistic as efforts to defeat it falter amid rising infection levels and drug resistance. Efforts to combat Aids in Africa are seriously faltering, with drugs beginning to lose their power, the number of infections rising and funding declining, raising the prospect of the epidemic once more spiralling out of control, experts have warned.


PrEP researchers now focusing on the best ways to get PrEP to people who need it - "Speaking to a meeting on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) yesterday, ahead of the 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016), Chris Beyrer, president of the International AIDS Society, reminded delegates that the last time the conference was held in Durban, South Africa, in the year 2000, the event was notable for drawing attention to the enormous gap in access to HIV treatment between rich and poorer countries. That conference began the treatment access era.


Experimental HIV treatment models highlight success and pinpoint obstacles to expanding care in African countries

AIDS 2016, Durban, South Africa - "Researchers in developing countries with high burdens of HIV infection are developing promising new strategies to advance towards global HIV treatment targets, the 21st International AIDS Conference in Durban South Africa has heard.


Information from the Swiss community of practice

DOCUMENTATION MMS/ conference, May 2016 - Applying human rights to Sexual and Reproductive Health!


Kwa Wazee was invited by UNAIDS

Kwa Wazee accepted an invitation by UNAIDS, ILO and UNRISD to participate in a panel discussion on "Fast-tracking Social Protection to End AIDS”. The event, which took place in the run-up to this year's "High Level Meeting on Ending AIDS", discussed selected HIV / AIDS projects that are dedicated mainly to the social issues related to the disease.


Swiss Aids Care International renamed Ruedi Lüthy Foundation as of 1 July 2016

Ruedi Lüthy Foundation - On 1 July 2016, Swiss Aids Care International will be renamed as the Ruedi Lüthy Foundation. While recognising the work of its founder, Prof. Ruedi Lüthy, this change also represents a promise to actively uphold his vision and ideals over the long term.


World Vision HIV and AIDS 2020 Strategy: Getting to Zero for Children

World Vision International - "In its 2015 strategy, UNAIDS shared the vision for getting to zero new infections, zero AIDS-related deaths and zero discrimination. We celebrate that, since 2000, new HIV infections among children have declined by 58%. With increased accesses to treatment, AIDS-related deaths have declined by more than 42%. However, there is still much work to be done as we strive towards getting to zero for children.


International news

Key Populations Atlas

UNAIDS - The Key Populations Atlas brings together data from diverse sources into one visual tool. With the collaboration of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the World Health Organization, the Division of Global HIV and Tuberculosis of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNAIDS collected, collated and assessed selected indicators in a single database.


The People's Hope

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) - During the darkest days of the AIDS epidemic, People’s Hope Clinic - called iThembalabantu in Zulu - brought treatment to residents of a struggling South African township and with it a fighting chance to survive the outbreak.


Reports and Studies

Transitioning to Country Ownership of HIV Programs in Rwanda

Plos Medicine - "An objective of development aid is to increase the capacity of recipient countries until they no longer require foreign assistance. Ideally, partners accompany host countries in this development journey by progressively transferring management skills and technical expertise to promote sustainability of country ownership of programs. Reviews of donor-funded health programs have highlighted integration into existing government health systems as key to enabling sustainability.


We neglect primary HIV prevention at our peril

The Lancet - "Inspired by a steady decline in new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths, the sustainable development goals call for ending the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030. However, the world is not on track to end the epidemic. In particular, the pace at which new HIV infections are declining is substantially slower than the fall in AIDS-related deaths, and epidemic control remains out of reach.



Health in Fragile Contexts

MMS/SRK/DEZA, 24 August 2016 - In an increasing number of countries the implementation of health programmes is challenged by fragile contexts. At the same time, fragility of a state is considered as one of the main causes for malfunctioning health services. Emergency situations aggravate such situation and reveal the weaknesses of the system. These settings evoke not only questions on how to adapt to shaking working environment or on sustainability, but also whether health programmes could make a contribution to reduce fragility.


Working in Fragile Contexts and Building up Resilient Health Systems

Medicus Mundi Schweiz Symposium, 2 November 2016 - To end preventable child and maternal deaths, create an AIDS-Free Generation, and protect communities against infectious diseases such as Ebola, we need effective, functional health systems that can deliver essential health services to those in need. International health organisations are more and more obliged to work in fragile contexts where the environment is marked by instability, the public structures are weak or quick to collapse and the rule of law is lacking.

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