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Ahead of World AIDS Day, ONE warns that progress against AIDS has stalled

“There really isn’t anything new in our report this year. And that’s the problem.”

Funding for the global fight against AIDS was flat and gains in treatment and prevention have not grown for a fourth straight year, The ONE Campaign warned in a report released ahead of World AIDS Day. In its annual report about the global fight against AIDS, ONE noted that imminent population growth among especially vulnerable populations in sub-Saharan Africa has left world leaders with a four-year window to get ahead of the disease before long-term control slips beyond our reach.

“There really isn’t anything new in our report this year,” the report’s lead author, Jenny Ottenhoff, said. “And that’s the problem. Worldwide funding for the fight against AIDS stayed about the same this year. The number of people added to treatment stayed about the same, too, as did the number of people who were infected with HIV. We’re making progress, but progress isn’t enough any more. The status quo just isn’t enough to keep pace with the looming population growth in Africa, let alone to win the fight.” Ottenhoff is the director of global health policy at ONE.

Among the toplines of the 2016 ONE AIDS Report, which is attached to this email:

  • Resources available for the global fight against AIDS were essentially flat for the fourth consecutive year.
  • The number of people infected with HIV remained stuck at 2.1 million for the third consecutive year.
  • Two million people gained access to lifesaving treatment annually for the third consecutive year, and brand-new data from UNAIDS suggests a similar total for 2016.
  • On the current trajectory, the world will fall significantly short of several key 2020 indicators:
    • Instead of reducing new infections among adolescent girls and young women to 100,000 per year by 2020, we are on track to see 364,000 new infections by 2020.
    • Instead of having gotten 30 million people living with HIV access to antiretroviral treatment by 2020, we are on track to see only 26.5 million on treatment.
    • Instead of mobilizing US$26.2 billion in annual funding for the fight against AIDS, funding appears to have flat-lined at US$19 billion, with no increase expected.

ONE’s 2016 AIDS Report is the organization’s fifth. Titled, “Stuck in Neutral,” it explores gaps in three areas: treatment, prevention, and funding. It assesses progress and identifies challenges, looking closely at paths to 2020, where accelerated action and renewed commitment are needed to break the gridlock and ultimately to tip the balance towards the end of the AIDS epidemic.

“If the successful replenishment of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria was an indication, world leaders still have the will to wage this fight, but they appear to lack the ambition necessary to win it,” the report says. “Indeed, a continuing sense of complacency and fatigue threatens to derail the progress achieved to date and the momentum needed to end the disease for good.”

In September, world leaders met in Montreal to commit US$12.9 billion over the next three years to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria — the largest multilateral commitment to a global health project in history. The Global Fund is a public-partnership that pools the world’s resources to strategically invest in programs to end three epidemics. It is credited with saving 20 million lives to date, and 8 million more by 2019.

AIDS-related illnesses are now the leading cause of death for women aged 15 to 44 on the planet, and over 17,000 women of all ages are infected with HIV every week. In sub-Saharan Africa, young women are twice as likely as young men to be infected with HIV, and 850 young women contract it every day.