24 August, 2015 18:30

Latin American and Caribbean countries commit to sharply reducing new HIV infections and advancing human rights

Latin American and Caribbean countries have called for sharply reducing the number of new HIV infections and HIV related discrimination in the region and have set new prevention targets to be met by 2020.

The new regional prevention targets, adopted at the Second Latin American and Caribbean Forum on the HIV Continuum of Care, include reducing by 75% the number of new HIV infections among adults and young people, and increasing to 90% the percentage of men who have sex with men, sex workers and transgender people who have access to HIV prevention packages.

More than 150 representatives of national HIV programmes, civil society, people living with HIV, academia and the scientific community participated in the event, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 18 to 20 August.

Civil society and people living with HIV advocated that countries invest more to Fast-Track the HIV response. Countries in the region agreed to increase funding for prevention programmes for key populations from 7% of the total regional investment in HIV to 25%.

The participants also agreed that the way forward must include removing laws and policies that discriminate against people living with HIV and key and vulnerable populations. Countries committed to adopting a people-centred approach to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. 

In 2014, an estimated 2 million people were living with HIV in Latin America and the Caribbean and 100 000 people became newly infected. Although the HIV response has been scaled up in several countries, regionally there has been little change in the annual number of new infections over the past five years. A major challenge is reaching vulnerable populations, who are often marginalized due to discrimination and encounter legal barriers in accessing services.

Participants recognized that a focus on location and population, a human rights approach, implementing innovative programmes in HIV combination prevention, and ensuring civil society and community involvement are all important to Fast-Tracking the HIV response in the region.

Quotes

“At a time of adversity, Brazil had the courage and the commitment to start treatment for people living with HIV, and this was key to achieving 15 million people on treatment today in the world. We are asking leaders again today to Fast-Track the response to reach the end of the epidemic by 2030.”

Luiz Loures, UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director

“The epidemic is growing at an unacceptable rate. We must focus on stopping new HIV infections.”

Rafael Mazin, Senior Adviser on HIV, Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Hepatitis, Pan American Health Organization

“For transgender people, HIV prevention is essential. This is why we need innovative strategies tailored to our specific needs.”

Marcela Romero, Regional Coordinator of the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Transgender People (REDLACTRANS)

UNAIDS

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