Since the early days of the HIV epidemic, people have struggled against the odds and faced significant
risks in pursuit of a more equitable world that supports their well-being. People with purpose and
vision have led the HIV response, and their struggle has evolved into unprecedented national commitment.
Recognizing the need to respond to the complex social, health and development challenges
inherent in HIV, countries have adopted a multisectoral response to HIV that includes government
ministries, civil society, people living with and affected by HIV, international development partners,
United Nations agencies, faith-based communities and the private sector.
Over the years, governments have built and agreed upon a number of high-level commitments and
set themselves ambitious goals by which to measure the progress achieved and to which they make
themselves accountable. As these commitments are monitored, stakeholders continue to identify gaps
and obstacles that need to be overcome in order to scale up their response and improve the lives of
people living with and affected by HIV.
Universal access to HIV treatment, prevention, care and support is the culmination of these commitments
and a midpoint to reaching the Millennium Development Goal to “halt and reverse the spread of HIV”. Universal access as a call for more equitable, affordable and comprehensive HIV services, and as a
platform for social justice, has inspired people and communities everywhere to do better.
The purpose of this road map is to chart the preparations under way in countries and regions and
globally to take stock of progress in achieving universal access and the path that lies ahead to ensure
a renewed commitment to this important goal. This occurs at a pivotal moment for all of us – a new
global landscape has emerged, new technological advances are available, and the intersection of health
and human rights challenges governments and other stakeholders as never before.
Advocates for the AIDS response face their biggest challenge yet; successes of past few years have in many places led to complacency, just as our efforts are beginning to pay dividends. The development
landscape and global economic crisis have shifted, with funding for AIDS flat-lining or even decreasing— all against a backdrop of already crowded competing global priorities, such as climate change and other Millennium Development Goals. In places where the epidemic had stabilized or decreased, infection rates are increasing again, and discrimination, punitive laws and gender violence are increasingly undermining efforts to improve access to services for key populations.
2011 marks 30 years since the first case of AIDS was identified, 10 years since the landmark United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS, and five years since the 2006 High Level Meeting where the universal access commitment was made. Although these are all important milestones,
lives are still being lost. In the context of fiscal austerity and multiple global development challenges,
the 2011 High Level Meeting on AIDS provides an unparalleled opportunity to build on unprecedented
progress in addressing this global health crisis and to galvanize Member States to commit to a transformative agenda that overcomes remaining barriers to effective HIV services and builds inclusive,
country-owned sustainable responses.
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