Ambitious Targets Help Spur Progress In Global AIDS Response

“On [December 2] at the White House, President Obama reported the latest accomplishments of the U.S. government’s response to HIV,” AVAC Executive Director Mitchell Warren writes in the Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog, stating, “The progress he cited was impressive.” However, “there was little mention of one the most impressive turnarounds in the global response to AIDS,” he notes, adding, “By the end of this year, PEPFAR reports that it will have supported 4.7 million voluntary medical male circumcisions (VMMC), meeting a goal the president announced in 2011.” He writes, “The turnaround shows that setting ambitious targets — and backing them up with funding and political leadership — can have a transformational effect.”

“That achievement cannot, of course, be entirely chalked up to a numerical target, or even to an influx of funding. In the past year, several African countries themselves have established rollout plans and made substantial investments of their own,” Warren continues, adding, “But having a clear global objective was instrumental.” He states, “Even with this impressive success, we remain a long way from where we need to be,” and writes, “As we pass the targets that PEPFAR set for itself two years ago, it’s time to establish new goalposts. PEPFAR — and, for that matter, other global health leaders — must commit to achieving much more ambitious targets over the next two years.” He concludes, “By continuing to build our knowledge through clinical and early stage research for a cure, AIDS vaccines, microbicides and other [treatment]-based prevention, we lay the groundwork for the next generation of advances, and for the AIDS-free generation that we all hope to achieve” (12/6).