We, representatives of civil society groups responding to HIV and AIDS in Eastern and Southern Africa; the Indian Ocean region; West and Central Africa; and Northern Africa met on 14 and 15 April 2011 in Windhoek, Namibia to consolidate an African civil society position on achieving zero new HIV infections, zero AIDS-related deaths and zero discrimination through universal access to HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support as well as the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
We recognise the progress made by many African countries in stabilising and/or decreasing the incidence of HIV infections and increasing the number of people accessing antiretroviral treatment. However, we are alarmed that Africa remains the epi-centre of the HIV epidemic and are convinced that an ambitious response to HIV is required to achieve the Millennium Development Goals on the continent. We are further concerned that, despite overwhelming evidence that the provision of antiretroviral therapy contributes to millions of lives saved and infections averted, prevention and treatment programmes still fall far below what was called for in the Abuja Declaration and the African Common Position on Universal Access to HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support by 2010.
We are deeply concerned that the gains made during the past decade are under threat due to weak health and community systems; the frequent interruption of services, in particular stock-outs of antiretroviral and other drugs; and the lack of long-term, sustainable funding from international actors, bilateral partners, and African governments. In addition, women, girls, youth, persons with disabilities and other key populations at higher risk of HIV such as sex workers, people who inject drugs, men who have sex with men, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people are still disproportionately infected and affected by HIV and AIDS. We are gravely concerned that these populations continue to be marginalised and face high levels of stigma and discrimination, which contribute to social and legal barriers to accessing effective, quality and sustainable HIV services for all those who need them.
Now more than ever, political will and commitment, illustrated through allocation of adequate funding and bold action, is needed to ensure the achievement of universal access to HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support in Africa.
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