International momentum builds to expand access to antiretroviral therapy
23 September 2013
HIV scientists, doctors, and health economists have gathered in London on 22-24 September to present the clinical and financial case for HIV treatment and other HIV prevention activities to achieve the 2015 global AIDS targets. Under the title Controlling the HIV Epidemic with Antiretrovirals: From Consensus to Implementation, more than 400 delegates considered data about how the latest HIV prevention programmes work.
The Summit was hosted by the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC) in partnership with the British HIV Association (BHIVA), Public Health England (PHE), and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
Speaking at the opening, UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé highlighted the importance of accelerating access to HIV treatment saying that HIV treatment should be available to everyone who needs it. Following the key note speech, high-level panel members discussed HIV treatment expansion; the importance of using data to expand programmes; the need to maximize impact with the resources available; and the need to empower communities to deliver HIV services.
We have less than 1000 days to achieve our 2015 global target of reaching 15 million people with HIV treatment. Not only can we reach this goal but must go beyond it to ensure no one is left behind.
There is no question to continue business as usual. Even though the country is facing a problem of lack of resources, our President has decided to mobilize all available resources to sustain the AIDS response.
Treatment is prevention; treatment prevents people from becoming sick and prevents the spread of the virus.
People here [Zambia] have to start queuing at 3 AM to get a chance of receiving ARVs, without being sure whether they will get them. Only community members can provide assistance to people who will never go to a health facility. Time has come to make sure that everybody who needs treatment will get it.
We know enough about the science for treatment as prevention. It is now time to act.