UNAIDS adopts new global AIDS strategy

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GENEVA, March 25 (Xinhua) — UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations (UN) Program on HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome), said on Thursday that it had adopted a new global strategy to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

The new Global AIDS Strategy 2021-2026, “End Inequalities, End AIDS,” is set to close the gaps preventing progress to end AIDS and sets out bold new targets and policies to be reached by 2025.

It consists of three strategic priorities — maximize equitable and equal access to comprehensive people-centered HIV services; break down legal and societal barriers to achieving HIV outcomes; and fully resource and sustain HIV responses and integrate them into systems for health, social protection and humanitarian settings.

According to UNAIDS, the strategy, if achieved, will reduce the number of people who newly acquire HIV from 1.7 million in 2019 to less than 370,000 by 2025, and the number of people dying from AIDS-related illnesses from 690,000 in 2019 to less than 250,000 in 2025. It will also eliminate new HIV infections among children by bringing down the number of new HIV infections from 150,000 in 2019 to less than 22,000 in 2025.

Achieving these goals will require annual HIV-related investments in low and middle-income countries to rise to 29 billion U.S. dollars by 2025, UNAIDS said, while the total resource needs for low income and lower-middle income countries is around 13.7 billion U.S. dollars.

Donor resources are mainly needed for low-income and lower-middle income countries, while in upper-middle income countries, which account for 53 percent of the investments needed, the predominant sources of funding are domestic, it added.

“We are at a critical moment in our historic effort to end AIDS,” said UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima after the adoption of the strategy. “Like HIV before it, COVID-19 has shown that inequality kills. COVID-19 has widened existing inequalities that block progress to ending AIDS. That’s why I’m proud that our new strategy places tackling inequalities at its heart. We must seize this moment to ensure health equality for all in order to beat COVID-19 and end AIDS.”

“The World Health Organization (WHO) is pleased to endorse the global AIDS strategy for the next five years,” said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, “For this strategy to be fully realized, the WHO will continue to support all countries to strengthen health systems and especially primary health care on the road towards universal health coverage.” Enditem

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