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Fighting HIV Together

Why partnership is key in the fight against HIV

Working together towards a global ambition to End AIDS seems like an obvious thing to do. But what does fighting HIV together truly add up to?

It starts with people. This World AIDS Day, we stand together to improve the lives of the 36.7 million people living with HIV (PLHIV)[1] and reflect on the vast strides that the global HIV community has made together towards fighting HIV and AIDS so far. But we also look ahead to what we still need to accomplish in order to address the remaining challenges associated with the epidemic.

There is no question that collectively we have made significant progress in the fight against HIV. As of December 2015, 17 million people were accessing antiretroviral therapy1; this is up from 15.8 million in June 2015 and 7.5 million in 2010.1Meanwhile, the number of people who are newly infected with HIV continues to decline in most parts of the world. Worldwide AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 45% since 2005, from 2 million AIDS-related deaths in 2005 to 1.1 million in 2005.1

None of this would have been possible without the power of partnership; it’s only through working together that the HIV community, from advocacy groups to research institutions and pharma companies, that we have been able to make strides in the fight against HIV and advance science and treatment, access to care and societal barriers.

Partnerships that matter

We collaborate because we know we’re at our best when we strike up meaningful and effective partnerships with key stakeholders – including global NGOs, community organisations, scientists, healthcare providers and national authorities – to advance research in treatment and care for PLHIV.

A significant milestone in the global health calendar this year was the AIDS Conference in Durban, where the theme of partnership was featured often and throughout, in particular in the closing address as a call to action. We were proud to showcase a number of the key projects that we support including:

  • The launch of the IAPAC Fast-Track Cities dashboards
  • The Every Footstep Counts video competition in support of grassroots organisations
  • The first Positive Action for Children Fund ‘Collaborathon’ which brought together over 100 community-based organisations
  • Our long-standing partnership with IAS through CIPHER that supports research in paediatrics HIV
  • The PEPFAR DREAMS Innovation Challenge, which awarded funding to deserving projects focussed on keeping girls in secondary school

These important initiatives would not be possible without the network of partners we have fostered and the long-standing commitment we have towards working with and for PLHIV and those organisations that work to support them.

Hear from our partners around the world why partnership is important to them:

What happens beyond World AIDS Day?

Despite the significant strides that have been made to improve the lives PLHIV, we cannot ever allow ourselves to sit back and be passive observers. Today, only 60% of all people living with HIV know their HIV status, and only 46% of people living with HIV are accessing treatment.[2] We have seen the individual and collective ability that we – members of the HIV community – have to drive change and we must continue to press on.

As an industry, we are greater than the sum of our parts. In partnership with the global HIV community, we continue to push on improving the lives of PLHIV by develop meaningful treatment advances, improving access to our medicines and supporting communities most affected by the disease through programmes that have a direct and sustainable impact.

Working together with our partners – through Positive Action, public-private partnerships, our work with NGOs, and our contribution to Government initiatives – we are seeing that a united conviction combined with sustained initiative can deliver results that change lives.

If there was ever a time to believe in the power of partnerships, it is now. The HIV epidemic will not be ended by one individual or organisation, it will take a global concerted effort and we recognise the role we have to play in this challenge. Fortunately, the global HIV community is a coalition of the willing. Through partnership, we believe we can have the ambition of meeting the challenge set by UNAIDS to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

REFERENCES

[1] UNAIDS. Global Statistics Fact Sheet 2016. Available at: http://www.unaids.org/en/resources/fact-sheet. Last accessed November 2016.

[2] UNAIDS. HOW THE AIDS EPIDEMIC CAN BE ENDED BY 2030 WITH YOUR HELP. Available at: http://www.unaids.org/sites/default/files/media_asset/UNAIDS_with-your-help_en.pdf. Last accessed November 2016.