Scaling up HIV treatment in Africa
This post originally appeared on UNAIDS.org here.
“HIV treatment is a game-changer” was one of the main messages from participants at a key session on Scaling up HIV treatment in Africa: 2015 and beyond.
Held at the XVII International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa (ICASA) on 8 December, the session explored strategies for scaling up access to HIV treatment in Africa to achieve the goal of universal access. Participants discussed how to leverage the current moment of opportunity in the global HIV response to lay the groundwork for the end of the AIDS epidemic.
Panelists included Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director; Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; Caroline Ryan, Deputy Global AIDS Coordinator (PEPFAR); Catherine Hara, Minister of Health, Malawi; Kenly Sikwese, Coordinator, AFROCAB; and Brian Williams, Chair of the Board of Trustees, SACEMA. About 800 representatives from international organizations, political groups, scientists and civil society representatives attended the meeting.
From 2006 to 2012 the number of people accessing ART in Africa rose from slightly more than 1 million to 7.6 million, a 400% increase. While much progress has been made, the continent is facing new challenges in its advance towards universal access to HIV treatment.
“Treatment is not only about pills. Treatment is about life, rights, dignity, investment and the democratization of access through innovation, simplification and centralising the role of the community.”
UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé
“Our collective goal is the end of the AIDS epidemic, and treatment is one element to reach that goal.”
Mark Dybul, Executive Director, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
“The United States is committed to the AIDS response. Last week, President Obama signed the re-authorization of the President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).”
Caroline Ryan, Deputy Global AIDS Coordinator (PEPFAR)
“Local leadership is key to accelerating access to HIV treatment.”
Catherine Hara, Minister of Health, Malawi
“Along with anaesthetics, vaccination and antibiotics the discovery and development of anti-retroviral drugs ranks among the greatest medical advances of all time. When the end of AIDS has come the human cost will have been extremely high but the legacy of our struggle will be the knowledge it has given us on how to manage and control the myriad of other viral diseases that threaten and afflict us.”
Brian Williams, Chair of the Board of Trustees, SACEMA