The Consortium is calling on Member States to ensure that care and support is placed alongside treatment and prevention and receives equal attention when a new UN 2011 global commitment on HIV is negotiated in June.
“HIV care and support is a vital, yet neglected, component of a successful response to HIV, particularly at community level and also makes major contributions to addressing broader health and international development targets such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” said Mike Podmore, one of the reports authors and Policy Manager at the International HIV/AIDS Alliance.
For the 60% of people globally who have no access to treatment, care and support services are their only help.
For people on treatment studies show that care and support needs continue and in many cases expand as people with HIV live longer.
To place care and support firmly back at the centre of the HIV response the publication Care and Support: the Forgotten Pillar of the HIV Response was launched this week in London.
Speakers at the event included Michael Howard, Baron Howard of Lympne, QC, Chairperson of Help the Hospices.
In his speech, Michael Howard highlighted the scale of the problem. “Only 44% of governments reported that most people in need have access to home based care services. 40-60% of children orphaned or made vulnerable by AIDS in the highly affected countries of East and Southern Africa are cared for by grandmothers and only 12% of households caring for orphaned children received external support,”
But care and support makes a fundamental difference. It offers a means of preventing and controlling the spread and the impact of HIV and related infections such as TB and hepatitis in communities. It addresses the health, psychosocial, socio-economic, legal and general wellbeing of people living with HIV and their extended families and other dependents.
Secretary of State Stephen O’Brien who wrote the forward of the report explained the benefits of it. “This document provides an important tool to strengthen the work of care and support networks, encourage innovative ways of working and facilitate a programmatic shift towards placing care and support at the heart of achieving Universal Access and MDGs 4,5 and 6.”
The Consortium will be taking their messages to the UN decision makers and governments in the run up to the UN meeting in June.
“Every page is a call to action. We are not in the business of just producing glossy publications, we are in the business of changing lives,” commented Director Ben Simms of the Consortium.