Source: Haider Rizvi, AEGIS

Last Tuesday at the two-day UN High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS, the executive director of UNAIDS said the world is finally starting to see “real results” in the fight against the disease but that there is still “a long way to go.”

“Every day, almost 7,000 people are needlessly affected because they do not have access to proven interventions to prevent transmission,” Dr. Peter Piot said. “If the international community wants to get anywhere near universal access to HIV prevention, the world needs to significantly increase investment.”

The wide gap between need and available resources is a big roadblock to providing universal access to prevention and treatment, said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a situation that will continue “in the absence of a significant increase in the level of resources available in low- and middle-income countries.”

Sara Speicher of the US-based Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance said world governments “actually never met the [funding] targets,” and many still are not “fully committed” to increasing their support.

Discrimination’s severe impact on AIDS-control efforts was another topic at the meeting. “Are we not all humans and deserving of equal treatment and access?” asked Ritri Suksma, who works with the non-governmental group Coordination of Action Research on AIDS. Suksma reported that in her native Indonesia she risks being stripped of her property because of her HIV-positive status, and she noted that some 70 nations restrict entry by travelers with the virus.