BERLIN/GENEVA, 14 October 2022—As global health leaders arrive in Berlin for the
BERLIN/GENEVA, 14 October 2022—As global health leaders arrive in Berlin for the World Health Summit, UNAIDS is calling on countries to challenge the inequalities and injustices that are obstructing efforts to end the HIV pandemic and weakening responses to other health threats.
UNAIDS recent report In Danger, revealed a faltering HIV response in many countries, with entire groups of people being left highly vulnerable to HIV infection and unable to access HIV treatment, prevention and care services. Data included in the report showed that HIV infections are increasing in 38 countries worldwide and that the pandemic continues to have the worst impact on adolescent girls and young women and key populations such as gay men and other men who have sex with men, sex workers, transgender people and people who use drugs.
In 2021, there were 1.5 million new HIV infections worldwide—more than 1 million above the 2020 target. Globally, 250 000 adolescent girls and young women aged 15—24 years old became infected with HIV in 2021, while four out of five new infections among this group occurred in sub-Saharan Africa. Key populations and their sexual partners account for 70% of new HIV infections globally. Meanwhile, almost 10 million of the 38.4 million people living with HIV globally are still waiting for treatment to keep them alive and well and stop them transmitting the virus.
“It’s still possible for countries to end the AIDS pandemic by 2030 but it will require additional investment and a relentless focus on challenging gender-based violence, gender inequalities and other social injustices that make people vulnerable to infection and keep them away from HIV prevention, treatment and care services,” said UNAIDS Executive Director, Winnie Byanyima, who is in Berlin for the summit. “Laws that criminalize and marginalize vulnerable groups of people are denying the right to health to entire groups of people and holding the HIV response back.”
At the summit, UNAIDS will also be underlining the need for high-income countries to continue their support for the global HIV response, especially as the economic crisis bites. Many low- and middle-income countries have cut budgets for health, education and other essential services in the last two years as they deal with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and struggle to meet crippling debt repayments to richer nations.
“It would be tragic, misguided and unfair to expect the world’s poorest to pay for the current global economic crisis for which they bear no responsibility,” said Ms Byanyima. “In fact, additional investments in essential services such as health and education are vital now to help low- and middle-income countries weather the storm and emerge as fairer societies contributing to global health security.”
Achieving the goals of the UNAIDS Global AIDS Strategy 2021—2026 requires that annual investments in HIV services in low- and middle-income countries rise to a peak of $29 billion by 2025—there is a current shortfall of around $8 billion. UNAIDS has commended Germany’s pledge of €1.3 billion for the 7th Replenishment of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria—a 30% increase on its 2019 pledge. Germany has also contributed €6 million to UNAIDS for 2022, making it the organization’s fifth biggest donor.
During the World Health Summit, Ms Byanyima will participate in an event hosted by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Health: The Global Effort to End HIV and AIDS: Addressing Inequalities in the AIDS Response to Make the Money Work. The session will take place on Sunday 16 October between 14:00—15:30 CET and will be livestreamed here.
On Tuesday 18 October between 19:00—21:00 CET Ms Byanyima will be in a livestreamed conversation with the Heinrich Böll Foundation: Lives Before Profits: A conversation with Winnie Byanyima on Global Health Justice.
During her visit to Berlin, Ms Byanyima will also meet with communities and activists involved in the HIV response in Germany including representatives from Aktionsbündnis gegen AIDS, Deutsche AIDS Hilfe and AIDS Action Europe. Discussions will include legal barriers to providing HIV services for all in Germany, ongoing support to Ukrainian refugees and lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more at unaids.org and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
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