Feature story

Government leaders reaffirm their commitment to accelerate HIV prevention efforts to reduce new HIV infections

10 November 2023

With just two years left to attain the 2025 HIV prevention target of fewer than 370 000 new HIV infections annually, the world is not on track. In 2022, 1.3 million people became infected with HIV – the urgency to accelerate progress cannot be overemphasized. The Global HIV Prevention Coalition co-convened by UNAIDS and UNFPA ensures a strengthened and sustained political commitment for primary prevention across key policy makers and programme implementers. It includes countries such as Botswana, Cameroon, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Rwanda South Africa, and Zimbabwe – which have reduced new HIV infections by more than 70% since 2010.  

However, there were disparities across populations and regions. No significant declines were seen among key populations (sex workers, men who have sex with men and people who inject drugs).

Globally, 4,000 new HIV infections occurred among adolescent girls and young women aged 15-24 years, every week – 3,000 of these occurred in Sub-Saharan Africa. Approaches and investments for HIV prevention are currently insufficient to meet global targets.

The directors of National AIDS Coordinating Agencies, Ministry of Health HIV leads from the Global HIV Prevention Coalition focus countries and development partners were convened by the HIV Prevention Leadership Forum, with support from UNAIDS and UNFPA, to reinforce their commitment to stopping new HIV infections. This is part of efforts to ensure effective implementation of expanded HIV programmes with a focus on key and priority populations .

During the meeting, each country identified commitments  that they will drive and will be held accountable for in 2024 as well as technical level actions necessary for programme optimization.  Donors and global technical partners identified opportunities for technical and financial resources available at country level to supplement national resources to drive the action plans. 

The first lady of Namibia and UNAIDS Special Advocate for Adolescent Girls, and Young Women, Her Excellency Monica Geingos urged the country leaders in the HIV response to adapt solutions tailored to their national needs culturally, socio-economically, and politically. Whilst strengthening global collaboration, leaders should strengthen partnerships across sectors within the countries. Success in HIV prevention is possible, however, not only does it require leadership at government level, but also communities must lead.

The Global Prevention Coalition co-chair and former Minister of Health of Botswana, Prof. Sheila Tlou encouraged government leaders to follow the science, make data-driven decisions and ensure community leadership and participation in HIV prevention programming. This will secure gains made, bridge disparities and expedite progress needed for success in HIV prevention.

Dr Ruth Laibon Masha, Co-Chair of the HIV Multi-Sector Leadership Forum and Director, National Syndemic Disease Control Council, underscored the need to secure gains made by extraordinary leaders from multiple sectors who have played a crucial role in advancing the HIV movement and achieving significant progress. “By continuing to lead from the front we can work together towards the goal of delivering a future free of new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths. It’s time to recommit and finish the race against time “, she added.

Vice Minister, National Disease Control and Prevention Administration (NDCPA) affirmed China’s commitment towards strengthened multisectoral leadership and promotion of a nationally led HIV prevention and health agenda.


“In this moment, community leadership counts, country leadership counts in making the commitments of this meeting and our Action Plans a reality”

Winnie Byanyima UNAIDS Executive Director

“While scientists, policymakers and funders will continue to drive and be essential to this work, it’s community leadership and mobilization that will end this epidemic. But no matter how good the science or community leadership, HIV will not end if we don’t have significant policy change to reverse criminalization and lessen stigmatization of affected populations. If we can’t protect human rights, then we can’t end HIV. This is never just about the virus—it’s about people, and the people must lead.”

Mitchell Warren GPC Co-Chair and Executive Director AVAC



Position paper