July 22, 2014

Ending the AIDS epidemic: a new target for HIV treatment

This post originally appeared on the UNAIDS website here. Reposted with permission.


At a high-level political session on the opening day of the 20th International AIDS Conference, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé called for a new set of treatment targets by 2020. These include that 90% of all people living with HIV know their HIV status, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection receive HIV treatment and 90% of all people receiving HIV treatment have durable viral suppression.

These new targets will reflect a new paradigm for HIV treatment: targets for each stage of the treatment continuum, rather than a single number of people who initiate treatment; recognition not only of the life-saving therapeutic benefits of HIV treatment, but also its prevention potential; and a commitment to leave no one behind in the push to link all people living with HIV to treatment services.

Participants in the session included Mr Sidibé; the United States Global AIDS Coordinator, Deborah Birx; the Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Mark Dybul; the Executive Director of the Global Network of People Living with HIV, Suzette Moses-Burton; the Minister of Health, South Africa, Aaron Motsoaledi; and the Vice-Minister of Health and Surveillance, Brazil, Jarbas Barbosa.

They reviewed progress made in scaling up HIV treatment and explored issues surrounding the new treatment targets, such as how they can be integrated into the post-2015 development agenda and how the necessary treatment scale-up might be financed. It was recognized that new business models and partnerships are required to achieve the goal of accelerated treatment delivery for all people in need.

Civil society activists made a statement at the beginning of the meeting demanding the target of complete suppression of HIV for all people living with HIV by 2020.


“The potential of HIV treatment needs to be leveraged to save peoples’ lives and stop this epidemic.”

Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director

“If we focus where the infections are happening by geography and population we can get to control the epidemic.”

Mark Dybul, Executive Director, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

“It is unacceptable that millions of people don’t have access to diagnostics and HIV treatment.”

Jarbas Barbosa, Vice-Minister of Health and Surveillance, Brazil

“The closer we get to communities, the better the outcomes. Subnational data would allow us to use the dollars in the most effective way.”

Deborah Birx, United States Global AIDS Coordinator

“The retargeting discussions should not be limited by financial and funding possibilities: we should start from real demands from the ground. The question is not how can we do it. The question is—how can we not?”

Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Health, South Africa