Statement: Our response to UK AID strategy
24 November 2015
HIV/AIDS must remain central to UK Government’s response to infectious diseases
We welcome the UK Government’s renewed commitment to spending 0.7% of GDP on foreign aid and the Department for International Development’s (DFID) announcement of the £1 billion Ross Fund to tackle infectious diseases.
However, we are concerned that that there is no mention of HIV or AIDS alongside other infectious diseases within DFID’s new aid strategy, ‘UK Aid, tackling global challenges in the national interest,’ nor in the £1billon ‘Ross Fund’ for research into infectious diseases.
DFID prioritising infectious diseases without a focus on HIV is rather like the NHS tackling cancer without a focus on lung cancer, the biggest cause of cancer deaths in the UK. The UK led the world in responding to HIV, but runs the risk of surrendering that global leadership without an explicit focus on HIV.
AIDs is the biggest killer globally of women of reproductive age and, despite progress, kills more than a million people every year. Whilst globally we have become more effective at treating people living with the disease we also know that there are parts of the world where treatment rates remain low.
We also know that getting effective treatments to populations most at risk are most effective when delivered through a human rights based approach, underpinned by a commitment to working with and funding civil society organisations in-country.
We acknowledge that the ongoing refugee crisis presents emerging problems for the UK and the broader international community. However, it is worth noting the recent UNAIDS report which highlighted that migration can place people in situations of heightened vulnerability to HIV and has been identified in certain regions as a risk factor for HIV.
We are at a critical point with clear fast track targets now in place to end AIDS by 2030. Now is not the time for the UK Government to change course. Now is the time for the UK to celebrate the lives saved to date and keep a focus on one of the biggest causes of death and illness, HIV.
For further media information, please contact: Paul Hebden, Media Manager, International HIV/AIDS Alliance, +44 (0)1273 718949 or + 44 (0)7590 358391 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors:
• The International HIV/AIDS Alliance is a unique worldwide alliance of national civil society organisations dedicated to ending AIDS through community action. Our vision is a world without AIDS and our mission is to work with communities through local, national and global action on HIV, health and human rights. www.aidsalliance.org