Sweden—championing efforts to end AIDS

01 April 2017

The global response to HIV has averted almost 9 million deaths since 2000, when the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) were set. Despite such progress, AIDS is the leading cause of death among women aged 15–49, the sixth leading cause of death among adolescents and a leading cause of death among children worldwide.

Recognizing the impact of HIV on health and development, in 2016 United Nations Member States adopted a Political Declaration on Ending AIDS to advance progress towards ending AIDS by 2030.

Essential to these efforts will be achieving the 90–90–90 targets, whereby, by 2020, 90% of people living with HIV know their HIV status, 90% of people who know their HIV-positive status are accessing treatment and 90% of people on treatment have suppressed viral loads.

In October 2016, Sweden announced that it was the first country to reach the 90–90–90 targets, having reached them in 2015. Today, Sweden estimates that 90% of people living with HIV in Sweden know their HIV status, 97% of people who know their HIV-positive status are accessing treatment and 95% of people living with HIV who are accessing treatment have viral suppression.

Sweden remains a political champion and supporter of HIV efforts globally. Sweden is also a key donor to UNAIDS and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. From 26 to 28 March, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé visited Sweden, at the invitation of State Secretary Ulrika Modéer, to discuss how the response to HIV can be a catalyst for accelerating progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

In meetings with a series of key political and technical stakeholders, as well as civil society organizations working on HIV, the participants stressed that HIV prevention must be expanded to end AIDS. They also stressed that HIV programmes must be integrated, brought to scale and implemented to maximum effect, ensuring they reach the people most affected by HIV.

There was consensus that a single disease approach to HIV is inadequate to reach the Sustainable Development Goals and that there is a need for an approach that looks on health not as an outcome but as a prerequisite for development and sustainability.


“The HIV epidemic has been a cause and consequence of gender inequality for 30 years, but the HIV response is the conduit for transformative change and progress.”

Michel Sidibé Executive Director, UNAIDS

“We need a systems change and a bold stance on structural issues, such as human rights and gender. Now is the time to ensure that we have a global health architecture fit for the Sustainable Development Goals era. UNAIDS has a key leadership role to play because of the intersection of HIV with health and development.”

Ulrika Modéer State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sweden

“Broad-based partnerships beyond the HIV movement are key if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals . We need to bring our prevention and sexual and reproductive health and rights efforts to scale.”

Lennart Båge Director-General ad interim, Sida

“We need a fourth 90, a 90 for quality of life of people living with HIV. People living with HIV in Sweden have a high quality of life, but some key populations continue to face policy and service barriers.”

Farhad Mazi Esfahani Business Development Manager, HIV-Sweden