International coalition launches common platform to end AIDS epidemic

March 07, 2016

World leaders to adopt ambitious treatment and prevention targets.Donors, including PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, to evaluate existing and new funds with core activities including antiretroviral treatment for individuals with CD4 cell counts at 350 or aboveAll working on the AIDS response to end non-integrated, artificially-separated approaches to funding and delivering treatment and prevention services. Donors, communities, implementers, industry and researchers to map and execute an implementation research agenda for ART as part of combination prevention strategies.

"The most expensive, least effective strategy is to continue spending on AIDS the way that we are today," said Nono Eland of South Africa's Treatment Action Campaign. "We need more resources and better strategy. Funds need to be aligned with what is known to work??and reprogrammed where needed. We have no time to waste. World leaders at the UN this week should make clear commitments to the platform outlined in this statement."

According to the declaration, and consistent with a new investment framework from UNAIDS published last week in the Lancet, funding needs to be directed to evidence-based strategies with combination ART as a cornerstone of a set of proven strategies to prevent and treat HIV, including male and female condoms, male circumcision, prevention of vertical transmission, behavior change programs that target social norms as well as individual risk, and activities addressing key populations including sex workers, men who have sex with men and harm reduction programs for injecting drug users. Funds that are not aligned with these core activities need to be justified and, where applicable, reprogrammed.

"The scientific evidence is clear. We know that early treatment has health benefits for HIV-positive people, and we now know that treatment also provides clear benefit for prevention," said Kenneth H. Mayer, M.D. of Fenway Health. "As we work to scale up HIV treatment programs, we must also scale up and sustain research that builds on important proof of concept for biomedical prevention options, including pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, microbicides and vaccines to prevent HIV. Widespread treatment access coupled with new prevention options will be essential as we move to end this epidemic."