World Must Scale Up AIDS Fight, Even As Donors Scale Back

UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe writes in a Los Angeles Times opinion piece that “amid all the good news” about HIV prevention recently presented at the 6th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention, “one stubborn fact was hard to ignore: AIDS remains a metaphor for inequality.” With discrepancies in access to HIV treatment and prevention between developed and developing countries, “[i]t is hard not to conclude from all this that life is not valued equally across the world. This is morally wrong and unacceptable,” he writes.

“But even as the fight against the virus is starting to turn, some countries have reduced their contributions to the worldwide effort. Now is not the moment to retreat. We must see beyond the near-term costs toward the long-term benefits of innovation and investment for AIDS. If we want to turn scientific successes into progress for the poor, we must overcome the forces that threaten access. We have to scale up, even as some donors are scaling back, and we have to use innovation to overcome social division and inequity,” Sidibe writes. “The AIDS virus does not move slowly, and neither should we if we are to hope to achieve our collective vision of ‘zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths,'” he concludes (8/3).