Alvaro Bermejo, Executive Director of the Alliance, said: “We welcome a blueprint which will provide a plan and define what resources are needed – from the U.S. Government and other stakeholders – to translate policy imperative of an AIDS-free generation into a programmatic reality.”
“However, we can only bring an end to AIDS by investing in community-led approaches centered on human rights and we look forward to hearing how civil society can be an active participant in the development of the blueprint.”
Why a blueprint for an AIDS-free generation?
In November 2011, Clinton announced that achieving an AIDS-free generation would be a policy priority for the U.S. Government.
Then on World AIDS Day 2011, President Barack Obama announced higher targets for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
Earlier this month, a group of U.S. civil society organisations, including the International HIV/AIDS Alliance USA, called on the U.S. Government to develop an AIDS-free generation strategic plan by World AIDS Day 2012.
Secretary Clinton announced today that she has asked U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Eric Goosby to develop and share what she called an AIDS-free generation blueprint by that same date.
Focus on combination prevention and key populations
She noted that the blueprint would set the parameters for what needs to be done by the next Congress, the next Secretary of State, and global partners.
She emphasised combination prevention including condoms, counselling and testing, treatment as prevention, voluntary male medical circumcision (VMMC), and prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT).
Importantly for the Alliance, she explicitly declared that we must provide services to key populations including sex workers, people who inject drugs (PWID), and men who have sex with men (MSM), declaring that, “we can’t avoid sensitive conversations” on how HIV is transmitted and government cannot implement laws and policies which “drive people into the shadows.”
Critically, she cited the “essential role” of communities in the response to HIV/AIDS - one of the key themes for the Alliance at this International AIDS Conference and one of the critical enablers in the Investment Framework for HIV/AIDS.
She announced new funding for three initiatives related to communities most at risk of HIV:
- $15 million for implementation of research to identify the specific interventions that are most effective for reaching key populations
- $20 million to launch a challenge fund that will support country-led plans to expand services for key populations
- $2 million investment for the Robert Carr Civil Society Networks Fund to bolster the efforts of civil society groups in addressing the needs of key populations.
Finally, she acknowledged the need to “get serious” about promoting country ownership and the need for partner countries, civil society and donors to do their part.
- We welcome the development of a blueprint which will provide a plan and define what resources are needed - from the U.S. Government and other stakeholders. We look forward to hearing about how civil society will be an active participant in the development of this plan.
- We welcome the acknowledgment of the importance of greater country ownership and investment in the HIV response. We hope this translates into sustainable funding mechanisms which build the capacity of civil society and community groups.
- We welcome the vocal commitment to investing in communities most at risk of HIV. International donors still have an important role to play in supporting the parts of the response that are more challenging for national governments to support but where civil society can really add value (such as prevention work with MSM in Africa or with people who use drugs in Asia and Eastern Europe).