World AIDS Day 2012: the Aftermath

Another World AIDS Day has come and gone, and with it came a flurry of activities and heighted media attention for an issue that gets a lot less focus throughout the rest of the year.  In case you missed some of the highlights, here’s a quick taste of what happened over the course of last week:

As promised at the 2012 International AIDS Conference, Secretary Clinton unveiled the PEPFAR Blueprint—a document that outlines how the US government will work toward and help achieve an “AIDS-free generation.”  In many ways the document’s contents are not new, but they capture and formalize the US’ commitment to employing the latest data and science on AIDS learnedover the last two years. The Blueprint contains exciting new modeling showing the impact of scaled up combination prevention and treatment access across a number of African countries, and it also reinforces the importance of other stakeholders’ shared responsibility in achieving global goals on AIDS.  We hope Secretary Clinton’s successor can carry forward this ambitious framework, and hope that PEPFAR will add time-bound metrics into this framework in the coming year so as to ensure accountability for the US’ progress.

ONE launched a new report, tracking progress towards the vision of “the beginning of the end of AIDS”.  If you haven’t downloaded it yet, you should. Why? Because we think it offers a frank assessment of what the world must do to see this compelling vision turn into reality.

The Skoll World Forum’s “Up for Debate” series this week focuses on what it will really take to end AIDS.  ONE and RED, alongside the Gates Foundation, Mothers2Mothers, Riders for Health, and the Center for Health and Gender Equity, contributed our two cents—we’d love for you to share your thoughts in the debate, too.

(RED) celebrated hitting the impressive milestone of $200 million contributed to the Global Fund, launched special collections of products with partners, and capped off the week with DJ Tiesto headlining the live-streamed Stereosonic Music Festival in Australia and promoting a new album on iTunes, with proceeds channeled to the Global Fund.

ONE also launched a compelling new YouTube video series, “It Starts with Me,” to capture individuals from around the world—from celebrities to activists to everyday citizens—telling their personal stories about the moment they decided to get involved in the fight against AIDS.

A number of our global partners, including amfAR, UNAIDS, and AVAC, also released great new reports.  Check them out—they are important tools that should help us all gear up for the year ahead.

So with all this buzz around World AIDS Day week, what’s our key takeaway? A New York Times editorial headline perhaps put it best: promises on AIDS are not enough. We are now armed with the tools that will allow us to achieve a great milestone that once seemed impossible—the beginning of the end of AIDS—but we won’t get there just by talking about it.  The momentum of World AIDS Day should inspire us, and that momentum must be translated into real action, by citizens and by governments, in 2013.