Then, Vice President Cyril Ramaphosa (R) and UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe (left) welcomed the demonstrators outside the Durban International Conference Center, in Durban, South Africa, July 18, 2016. EPA / KEVIN SUTHERLAND
The Care Action Campaign and SECTION27 have asked Cyril Ramaphosa to make a strong statement on World AIDS Day which includes a call to leaders at the 2018 G20 meeting to ensure that funding for HIV prevention and treatment increases.
The Honorable President Ramaphosa,
Greetings. Thank you for your tireless efforts to try to eradicate corruption and Arrest Country. We hope that this effort will soon be translated into a strong commitment to improve the quality of life of our millions of people, including their access to life-saving medicines and quality health.
As you know, we are rapidly approaching World AIDS Day on December 1, 2018. This year's World AIDS Day is very important considering that it will happen when you meet global leaders at the G20 in Argentina, and at the beginning of sixth charging Global Funds to Combat AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria – organized by the French government.
World AIDS Day 2018 should remind us all that the global AIDS crisis is far from over. By 2017, 1.8 million people are infected with HIV while prevention tools remain out of reach, and violence, marginalization and criminalization of women, girls and key populations continue to make people at high risk for HIV infection.
At present 40% of people living with HIV still cannot access life-saving ART treatment. Millions more people face the challenges of continued adherence and mortality – both from treatment fatigue with limited opportunities for effective counseling or support and poor access to mental health services. We also face a widespread and deadly TB epidemic, limited HIV service provision due to a shortage of health workers and many other health system challenges. The reality is that the obstacles ahead of us must be faced.
During the early days of the global AIDS response, we struggled for the idea that governments around the world have a responsibility to do whatever they need to do to get HIV treatment to those who need it. While the government now recognizes their role, we are still far from true victory that will come when care and prevention is available to everyone, and our health system provides life-saving services that people need. We cannot sit and relax while people in the land are dying.
Today almost everyone agrees that we need to provide prevention, care and care for all who need it. Global adoption of the Fast Track target "90-90-90" is a testimony to this consensus. We have reached the point in the AIDS response where the question is not so much to do, but to ensure that quality evidence-based programs – based on the community of affected people – are truly implemented.
In this context we are concerned that funding for this HIV program from the donor government has declined in recent years. In almost every low and middle income country, gaps in funding undermine the response to HIV and care, prevention and care services are being rationed. Last year a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation & UNAIDS found that donor government funding for the global HIV response had declined by 7% in 2016 and was at the lowest level since 2010.
This should be a shocking warning to you as the President of one of the worst affected countries in the world. This should be a warning to anyone who cares about saving lives and ending the global HIV epidemic. Just as we are on the brink of success and eventually reach 60% of people living with HIV on treatment, we get another reminder that politics allows or cripples the AIDS pandemic.
Countries around the world have agreed to a global strategy. But we need money to see it. We need an ambitious acceleration of funding for the Global Fund to Combat AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and to ensure that there are at least $ 18 billion promising in 2019.
That is why we ask you personally to make a statement on World AIDS Day which includes a strong call to leaders at the 2018 G20 meeting to ensure increased funding and international solidarity are needed to provide quality care and prevention services worldwide.
We believe you will do this. Millions of lives depend on it. DM
This is a shortened version of the letter. Anele Yawa is the general secretary of the Treatment Action Campaign and Mark Heywood is the executive director of SECTION27.
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