UK’s global HIV response cut endangers 2030 AIDS terminal date
Disturbed by United Kingdom’s (UK) slash of global Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) response, experts have warned that the development could result in resurgence of the pandemic, hamper plans to end the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) by 2030 and endanger 38 million patients.
They also fear that over 80 per cent cuts to key multilateral organisations such as Global Fund, Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Unitaid may scuttle plans to boost pandemic preparedness, health system strengthening and end preventable deaths.
The experts, led by All-Party Parliamentary Group on HIV/AIDS (APPG), Stop AIDS and Frontline AIDS, in a new report yesterday, highlighted the impact of the British government’s decision to cut its level of official development assistance from 0.7 per cent to 0.5 per cent of gross national income.
Titled “Jeopardising Progress: Impact of UK Government AIDS Cuts on HIV/AIDS Worldwide” and published by UNAIDS, the document warned that the world was sleepwalking towards a new AIDS emergency, submitting that urgent action was needed to get the HIV response back on track.
It acknowledged that COVID-19 had disrupted HIV services, leading to significant declines in testing and referrals globally.
UNAIDS Executive Director, Winnie Byanyima, met British parliamentarians to discuss the findings during her visit to London earlier this month.
She equally conferred with the Secretary of State for Health, Sajid Javid, as well as Minister for European Neighbourhood and the Americas at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Wendy Morton.
During the meetings, Byanyima lauded UK’s progress, pointing out that the European nation’s leadership and involvement were most needed.
APPG’s Vice Chair, Baroness Barker, observed: “In over the past six years on this seat, I have been struck by the personal experiences people living with HIV have shared with me and the APPG, as well as the significant impact the UK’s global health and HIV & AIDS aid has made over the past years.”
According to the report, the reduction in Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) spending comes at a critical time for the HIV response.
Even before COVID-19, the HIV response was already in a precarious position, it added.The novel coronavirus is threatening to reverse a decade of progress in the HIV response. The global HIV response is now teetering – caught in a perfect storm of waning political and public engagement, diminishing funds and the global shock of the virus.
Last year, every single global target on HIV was missed by a considerable margin.