On 8–10 June, 2011, key stakeholders from all over the world will gather in New York to review progress of the global response to HIV/AIDS and to plan the way forward. This forum has the potential to reinvigorate the commitment to HIV/AIDS nationally and internationally.
In light of this, on 20 May, SECTION27, TAC, Médecins Sans Frontières, the World AIDS Campaign and the AIDS and Rights Alliance of Southern Africa sent a letter to the Director General for Health calling on the South African government to take the lead in setting ambitious and measurable targets, and encouraging similar commitments from other UN member states.
Specifically, we called on the South African government to commit to:
- Place at least 3 million people on ART by 2015;
- Ensure that at least 80% of public sector facilities have integrated TB and HIV programmes, including ART;
- Immediately and fully implement World Health Organisation (WHO) treatment guidelines for ART initiation to take place at CD4 350;
- Utilise innovative treatment and care strategies such as out-of-facility distribution of pre-packaged ART to optimise limited health resources and promote betterpatient outcomes;
- Fully institute TRIPS flexibilities as allowed under international law and other enabling policies that increase access to affordable, effective medicines; and,
- Given the global funding retreat, consider innovative financing mechanisms on both a national and international scale that provide long-term, predictable and robust funding for HIV and other health programmes.
Supporting these goals and targets will help South Africa to continue to act as a leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS and provide much needed political will for the next decade.