The world has come a long way since 2000, achieving the global target of halting and reversing the spread of HIV.
New infections have fallen by 35% since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths by 24%. Some 16 million people are now receiving antiretroviral treatment – more than 11 million of them in Africa. Ten million men in East- and Southern Africa have volunteered for medical male circumcision – a procedure that reduces a man’s risk of contracting HIV by 60%.
But now it’s time to act even more boldly, to take innovative steps so the world can meet the Sustainable Development Goal target of ending the epidemic by 2030. This September, world leaders agreed ambitious interim targets to fast track efforts to end AIDS.
On World AIDS Day, new WHO recommendations will launch to help achieve these targets. These include the use of innovative HIV testing methods; customizing treatment approaches to meet the full diversity of people’s needs; and offering a wider spectrum of prevention options.
Some low- and middle-income countries are already fast-tracking national AIDS responses. Countries do best when they make substantial domestic investments, base their HIV health-sector programmes on good data and simplify prevention and treatment programmes. Twelve countries have ensured that 60% or more of all people living with HIV are aware of their HIV infection and receive antiretroviral treatment.
Pioneering countries like these show that the new targets set for ending AIDS are feasible – even in resource-limited settings.