U.S. government sets December 1 deadline to release blueprint to end AIDS

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AIDS organizations respond to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s speech and proposed blueprint

Before the next Word AIDS Day — Dec. 1, 2012 –The U.S. government will be release an “AIDS-Free Generation Blueprint” detailing their plans to bring an end to the AIDS pandemic, according to a speech by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Monday at the International AIDS Conference (IAC) in Washington.

“Her pledge to commit the funding she announced to find ways to address obstacles between services and the people who need them most – men who have sex with men and gay people, people who use injected drugs, and people involved in sex work – and to encourage our partners to reach out to them, demonstrates the secretary’s understanding of what needs to be done,” according to a statement released by the Infectious Diseases Society of America’s Center for Global Health Policy and the HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA) thanking Clinton for her leadership in urging a blueprint to end AIDS. The statement emphasized the importance of ensuring through this blueprint that scientific breakthroughs in treatment and prevention are translated into lifesaving services on the ground.

HIVMA and the Global Center joined a group of 65 advocacy and implementing organizations that called on President Obama recently to reinvigorate an effective, unified, government-wide approach to combating AIDS, to ensure the success of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and to ensure that U.S. funding for the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund is restored and expanded.

“I salute the effort by President Obama, Secretary Clinton and the entire administration to develop a global battle plan that has a timeline for measurable targets, that mobilizes all stakeholders, implements effective strategies, and that brings together the resources necessary to win the battle against AIDS,” said Dr. Paul Zeitz, vice president of policy for the organization ACT V: The End of AIDS, who joined the call on the administration to take action. “As we all know, money is the oxygen for action for creating an AIDS-Free Generation. Action speaks louder we need to make sure that governments around the world step up to pay their fare share, including my own government!  U.S. leadership in global battle to end AIDS is an essential catalyst.”

The collaborating organizations listed various elements they considered crucial to the blueprint being successful, including:

  • Defining specific outcomes targets for HIV incidence, morbidity and mortality, and coverage targets for key interventions outlined as priorities in creating an AIDS-Free Generation including HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT), voluntary medical male circumcision, and male/female condoms.  Scale-up of these interventions in combination with evidence-based structural and behavioral interventions grounded in a human rights framework are essential to achieve an AIDS-Free Generation;
  • Requiring full transparency of US government budgets, partnership frameworks, and country-operating plans;
  • Defining how priority interventions will be scaled in combination, and in what settings, to accelerate progress towards outcomes and coverage goals;
  • And Identifying priorities and an investment strategy for research and development into new technologies and interventions, and implementation science to optimize service delivery.

“When you want to accomplish a complex goal you need a clear plan of action,” said Chris Collins, vice president of policy at The Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR). “Creation of a blueprint is an important step forward because it directs our planning, policy and funding toward achieving clear outcomes goals and will help everyone engaged monitor progress.”

The groups also emphasized the importance of identifying strategies and plans to comprehensively reach key affected populations – and Clinton announced in her speech three new efforts by the U.S. government to address just that: $15 million for implementation research to identify the 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 to key populations, and a $2 million investment in the Robert Carr Civil Society Networks Fund to bolster the efforts of civil society groups in addressing key populations.

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