Together we will end AIDS
24 July, 2012
Transgender sex workers in Jakarta are a target group for HIV/AIDS campaigns. A UNAIDS report shows the number of people dying from HIV has reduced globally by around a quarter since 2005. Photo: Josh Estey
The 19th international conference on HIV/AIDS is being held in Washington DC from 22–27 July. AIDS2012 is a chance for scientists, policy makers and people living with HIV to share experiences and work on strategies to beat the disease.
A feeling of cautious optimism surrounds this year’s conference after the release of a report by UNAIDS shows the number of people dying from HIV has reduced by around a quarter since 2005. Back then, the disease claimed 2.3 million annually. This has been reduced to 1.7 million a year—a marked improvement, though clearly there is much to be done before the world is HIV free.
The report also shows that the number of people receiving access to life-saving anti-retroviral therapy has increased by 20 per cent in just one year from 2010 to 2011. In 2011, more than eight million people had access to antiretroviral therapy.
Murray Proctor, Australia’s Ambassador for HIV/AIDS is in Washington to participate in discussions surrounding the results of a joint strategic assessment of HIV responses in Asia that AusAID lead in partnership with UNAIDS, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Asian Development Bank, World Bank, USAID, UNDP, UNODC, WHO and UNFPA.
‘AusAID and UN agencies will present an important new strategic assessment on how to prevent the further spread of AIDS in ten Asian countries. This independent report calls for a strong focus on cost effective interventions and raising more domestic resources in affected countries. It will be presented at a special side session of the Conference.
The next International AIDS Society meeting will be held in Melbourne in 2014. This will allow us to highlight the HIV issues facing our region and some 20,000 participants are expected to attend,’ Mr Proctor said.
The Melbourne conference details will be launched on Thursday in Washington at a seminar attended by Australia’s Health Minister Tanya Plibersek and Victoria’s Minister for Health and Minister for Ageing.
Australia continues to support large bilateral programs in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, regional programs in Asia and the Pacific, and global programs through multilateral organisations, such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund).
In 2011, Australia pledged $210 million over three calendar years (2011–2013) to the Global Fund. Australia’s 2011–2013 pledge is expected to contribute to the treatment of 71,000 people with antiretroviral drugs for HIV.
AusAID also provides funding to strengthen health systems in partner countries through health workforce development, health financing and health data collection and statistics. All of which are critical to the HIV response, which is directly dependant on well-functioning health systems.
Australian investments in the region have produced important outcomes in many countries. The Australian aid program has contributed to:
- increased numbers of people on HIV/AIDS treatment in our region, from 280,000 in 2006 to 739,000 in 2009
- increasing HIV testing among key populations: 34 per cent of sex workers, 29 per cent of men who have sex with men, and 22 per cent of people who inject drugs had an HIV test and know their results.
AIDS 2012 (external website)
UNAIDS–International AIDS Conference 2012 (external website)
Last Reviewed: 24 July, 2012