Press release |

Médecins Sans Frontières reaction to UNAIDS report on progress of global HIV treatment scale-up

2 min
Photograph by Anshul Uniyal
MSF Nurse dispensing 3rd line ARTs to patient living with HIV.

Background

UNAIDS’s new book: ‘How AIDS changed everything. MDG6: 15 years, 15 lessons of hope from the AIDS response’ includes updates on the number of people on antiretroviral treatment (ART) and the total number of people living with HIV in developing countries. UNAIDS is announcing that the goal of getting 15 million people on ART in developing countries by 2015 was reached in March of this year.  The ’15 by 15’ goal was set in June 2011, at the UN High-level Meeting on HIV/AIDS.


14 July 2015 — “Reaching the milestone of 15 million people on HIV treatment in developing countries is an important global accomplishment, but we can’t lose sight of the fact that more than half of the people living with HIV still do not have access to treatment. We cannot afford to lose any momentum at this point and need to double the pace of treatment scale-up—every day, more people need to be put on treatment than the day before.

In some countries where we work, HIV treatment coverage is as low as 17%, which stands in stark contrast to the UNAIDS goal of 90% treatment coverage, and much more attention needs to be paid to these neglected contexts.

Just as progress in scaling-up HIV treatment is at an all-time high and science supports expanding treatment for all people with HIV—both for their own health benefit and to curb the spread of the virus—donors are making one of their most cynical proposals in recent history, by asking the Global Fund to shrink its support for developing countries’ interventions to fight HIV/AIDS, as well as TB and malaria. Any move to withdraw support from the global HIV effort at this point flies in the face of what experts* conclude: today we must take our opportunity to curtail the epidemic, or risk sliding back to the same dismal mortality and infection rates as five years ago. The choice before the international community is stark: you can curtail new HIV cases and death, or you can curtail HIV funding for developing countries—but you can’t do both.”

Sharonann Lynch, HIV/TB Policy Advisor, Médecins Sans Frontières Access Campaign

*in the recent Lancet Commission report