46th PCB - Intervention by Jonathan Gunthorp - Agenda item 3: UNAIDS Strategy beyond 2021


Delivered by Jonathan Gunthorp, Africa Delegate, on behalf of the PCB NGO Delegation


Thank you chair, I speak on behalf of the entire NGO Delegation.

Many people in our communities are alive today because of the leadership of UNAIDS, and

yet we have not ended AIDS. Not as a public health threat, not as the leading killer of adolescents in southern Africa, not as a silent stalker of key populations worldwide.

Nor are we on track to end AIDS. Twenty-four months ago, the Lancet Commission report, - made up of some of the best minds in the global response - reminded us of this; warned of possible rebounds; advised to make common cause with broader global health; and found that existing tools and strategies are insufficient. I repeat, found that existing .. “strategies are insufficient”.

We face a strategic turning point in the Joint Programme, at a time of both the Coronavirus pandemic and the approaching economic recession.

The recession will push scores of millions back into poverty and, in the absence of UHC, eat away at their ability to pay for health, and at their countries ability to fund their HIV responses.

And the pandemic, while flaying the wealthy along with the poor, has exposed global inequities, between countries & within countries. It has reminded us who can and who cannot afford health.

While countries in the north have been heavily hit by the pandemic, it is in Latin America that bodies lie in the streets, that children with AIDS once again haunt TV screens as supplies and supply chains collapse, and it is in Asia that people break COVID-19 isolation and wait in vain for disrupted supplies of medicines.

And these scenes of increasing pain are only those we all see on TV.

It is, above all, the uncounted, as Professor Sarah Davis of the Global Health Centre, calls those whose data do not make it to our TV screens or our reports, that concern us in civil society.

  • It is people who use drugs in countries where they face psychiatric wards if counted
  • gay men or Trans women in countries where torture or beheading or murder in the street face them if they are counted
  • It is sex workers who face weekends of rape in police stations if they are counted
  • It is adolescent girls who face expulsions from school and home and sometimes community if they are counted, and who face backstreet abortions because they cannot be counted
  • And it is people living with HIV all over the world who face dismissals from employment, rejection by family, stigma, & discrimination if they are counted.

Our bold & imaginary strategy must, above all, ensure that if we are not able to count all of our people, that they still count in the response.

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