UNAIDS Issues New Fast-Track Strategy to End AIDS by 2030
On Tuesday, November 18, UNAIDS released a new report titled Fast Track: Ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030. The report outlines ambitious new targets to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 and prevent nearly 28 million new HIV infections and 21 million AIDS-related deaths.
While fast-tracking the AIDS response in order to reach these targets will require additional investment and focused efforts, not reaching these targets would be a set-back to the AIDS response and the current grasp we have on the epidemic would begin to slip as new infections and deaths would outpace the response. In addition, investing in the epidemic now would help save money over the long term — UNAIDS estimates that $24 billion would be saved in future treatment costs.
This means that rapid progress must be made during the next five years in order to remain on track to end AIDS by 2030.
By 2020 a new set of targets must be reached, these include:
- 90-90-90 for treatment: 90% of people living with HIV knowing their HIV status; 90% of people who know their status on treatment; and 90% of people on treatment with suppressed viral loads.
- Reduce the annual number of new HIV infections among adults to 500,000.
- Achieving zero discrimination.
Only if these targets are met can we then achieve the next set of goals to end AIDS by 2030:
- 95-95-95 for treatment: 95% of people living with HIV knowing their HIV status; 95% of people who know their status on treatment; and 95% of people on treatment with suppressed viral loads.
- Reduce the annual number of new HIV infections among adults to 200,000.
- Achieving zero discrimination.
These targets are of particular interest to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) as they help to highlight the importance of the increased efforts needed to reach those most vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, including children. Currently, children are 37% less likely to have access to treatment than adults. These targets will help to close that gap and ensure that those children who are infected and affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic receive the prevention, care, and treatment services they need to survive and thrive.
Also important is that the UNAIDS targets are directly in line with the discussions taking place within the global health community on how HIV will be represented and prioritized in 2015 and beyond. The current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were adopted in 2000 by the United Nations and are set to expire at the end of 2015, put forward universally agreed upon goals to help alleviate poverty and have galvanized efforts around the HIV/AIDS response. There are discussions among the global health community around what the next 15 years will look like and how the HIV/AIDS epidemic will be represented in the development framework that will replace the MDGs. It is imperative that the post-2015 development agenda include a strong health goal with specific targets and indicators that address the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The UNAIDS Fast Track report helps to highlight the importance of continued global momentum and investment in the HIV/AIDS epidemic, ensuring that no one is left behind through its 2020 and 2030 targets.
Now is a critical moment for the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Continued and increased investment in the HIV/AIDS response is essential in order to create a world where no child has AIDS.