aidsfocus news

aidsfocus news
October 2015

Oct 14, 2015


Many HIV-positive people are still left behind

Dear reader,

Are we at the beginning of a new era regarding the eradication of the AIDS pathogen? What was celebrated as a breakthrough at this year's IAS conference in Vancouver could actually stop the spread of this pathogen for good! All infected people carrying the HIV virus are to receive an antiretroviral treatment at an early stage. The scientific community in Vancouver was already speaking almost euphorically of a historical moment.

We are already rubbing our eyes a little in wonder at the current news of success in the area of AIDS! UNAIDS has surprised us with the message that the Millennium Development Goal set for the end of 2015 has been reached early and that 15 million people worldwide are in treatment. And Cuba has announced that she is the first nation to successfully eradicate all mother-baby transmissions.

Is the ambitious goal of 'ending AIDS by 2030' now moving within our grasp? We are clearly on the right track: science has the necessary medical preconditions and, with the Fast Track Report, UNAIDS has created the appropriate instrument to implement measures at a fast pace. The first milestone for 2020: '90-90-90' – 90% of all HIV-infected people to have been tested, 90% of them to be in treatment and 90% of those displaying evidence of a successful suppression of the virus.

But take care! This all sounds great so long as we do not take into account where we are today: over 50% of HIV-positive people are unaware that they are carrying the virus because they are coming forward to be tested. Enormous efforts are required in the next five years up to 2020. Sally Smith from UNAIDS left no doubt of this at this year's conference. 'Carrying on as before' is a retrograde step! As UNAIDS director Michel Sidibè recently warned on another occasion: 'Now we face a new conspiracy that the job is done.' You can read about why the job is not done and which challenges still need to be overcome in our current MMS Bulletin: 'Many HIV-positive people are still left behind.' Whether or not the virus can be stopped will be decided above all amongst the high-risk groups with their disproportionally high rates of new infection delineated there. Up until now, these people, in particular sex workers, homosexuals, transgendered people, the disabled, inmates, young women and girls, have hardly been reached by the programmes. Sally Smith is convinced: 'We must do things differently.'

Above and beyond the biomedical aspects of HIV, the social and structural impediments must be eliminated: governments and financial decision-makers, national and international organisations must intensify their work with HIV-positive people and with activists as their allies. Close collaboration with local communities and civil society as well as decisive action against human rights violations are the key factors in the new pace for a future without AIDS. The international community must now demonstrate the seriousness of its intent!

Martina Staenke

Collaborator communication Medicus Mundi Switzerland

Topic of the month

Many HIV-positive people are still left behind

Online-Bulletin of the conference of 7 May 2015


International news

Financing the Global Goals: Why the Global Fund replenishment matters for the SDGs - "Now that member-states have adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the global community is turning to how the seventeen goals can be achieved. The ambitious targets – 169 of them in total – were set through what some have called the most inclusive consultative process in the history of the United Nations. The same collective effort will no doubt be needed to translate global dialogue into local impact. (by Gemma Oberth)


How will the world be held accountable for achieving its new goals?

Key Correspondent - "On 26 September, representatives from a number of non-governmental organisations met to discuss accountability for achieving the new sustainable development goals.


Ending violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people

UNAIDS/UN - "We remain seriously concerned that around the world, millions of LGBTI individuals, those perceived as LGBTI and their families face widespread human rights violations. This is cause for alarm – and action.


UNAIDS welcomes bold new HIV prevention and treatment targets from PEPFAR

UNAIDS, New York, Geneva, 26 September 2015 - "UNAIDS welcomes the ambitious new targets set by the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) just one day after the Sustainable Development Goals were adopted by United Nations Member States at the UN headquarters in New York which include ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.


Young people in desperate search for safer sex

Key Correspondents - "For young people in southern Africa a lack of access to condoms is putting them at risk of unwanted pregnancies and HIV, and could ultimately jeopardise their lives.


Researchers put lens on sexual violence and sex work

Key Correspondents - "Over 350 researchers, gender activists, policy makers, practitioners and survivors from around the world convened in South Africa for the Sexual Violence Research Initiative Forum this week.


Sep 11, 2015 Why is country ownership essential to the AIDS response?

UNAIDS - It is a key factor that countries know their HIV/AIDS epidemic, that they have a clear picture of their key population and of the patterns of HIV transmission. Only then a country-owned national AIDS response is possible.


Reports and Studies

WHO launches early-release guideline to expand HIV treatment and prevention

World Health Organisation, Geneva - "Anyone infected with HIV should begin antiretroviral treatment as soon after diagnosis as possible, WHO announced on September 30, 2015.


WHO/UNAIDS launch new standards to improve adolescent care

WHO/UNAIDS - "New Global Standards for quality health-care services for adolescents developed by WHO and UNAIDS aim to help countries improve the quality of adolescent health care.


Programs supported by the Global Fund saved 17 million lives through the end of 2014, Fund says - "Programs supported by the Global Fund have saved 17 million lives up to the end of 2014, according to the Results Report 2015 released by the Fund on 21 September. The Fund says that it is on track to reach 22 million lives saved by December 2016, the end of the current replenishment period (see graphic). (by David Garmaise)


Workshop Guide Sexual and reproductive health and rights, and HIV 101 workshop guide - The key focus of this guide is to make a significant contribution to the integration of vital sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and HIV interventions for young key populations at country level.


The critical role of communities in reaching global targets to end the AIDS epidemic

UNAIDS - "There is now wide recognition that community responses must play an increasing role in addressing the epidemic in the years ahead. The Strategic Investment Framework, published in 2011, identifies community responses as a “critical enabler” of service delivery. UNAIDS has estimated that to achieve bold HIV treatment and prevention targets set in 2014, investments in community mobilization and services must increase more than threefold between 2015 and 2020. (...) .



A challenge for Switzerland: Achieving health for all in a changing world

Symposium Medicus Mundi Switzerland, 28 October 2015 - The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have changed the frame of reference for development policy worldwide. By applying a new strategy for international cooperation, Switzerland seeks to live up to SDG expectations. Will Switzerland be able to meet its responsibilities in a changing environment? What can it contribute to maximising health across all stages of life?


SRHR Meeting point on „Human rights based approaches to Sexual and Reproductive Health“

Medicus Mundi Switzerland, 29 October 2015 - MMS is embarking on a sexual and reproductive health and rights survey among its partners. After several consultations with the Swiss TPH we decided to focus on the transversal theme of human rights based approaches to SRH. With the study we aim to generate general knowledge and clarity on the elements of a human rights based approach (HRBA) to SRH of MMS members.


Swiss TPH Winter Symposium 2015

Swiss TPH, 10 December 2015 - Drug resistance is emerging globally as a major public health and economic problem. It is both urgent and highly complex, affecting key aspects of human and animal health as well as agriculture and the environment in many interconnected ways. Whether they target pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, parasites or their vectors, few drugs exist today, for which resistance has not already been documented.


21st International AIDS Conference

International AIDS Society, 17 July 2016 - It is with pleasure that we invite you to take part in the 21st International AIDS Conference, on 17-22 July 2016 in Durban, South Africa. The biennial International AIDS Conference truly is the premier meeting where science, leadership and community meet for advancing all facets of our collective efforts to treat and prevent HIV.

read more... is a platform set up by the Network Medicus Mundi Switzerland. is sponsored and shaped by its 22 partner organizations who support the aims and activities of the platform through their financial contributions, expertise and commitment. It is financially supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

Partner organisations: AIDS & Child, CO-OPERAID, FEPA, Fédération Genevoise de Coopération, Gemeinschaft St. Anna-Schwestern, IAMANEH Switzerland, Kindernothilfe Schweiz, Kwa Wazee, mediCuba-Suisse, mission 21, SolidarMed, Swiss Aids Care International, Swiss Aids Federation, Swiss Catholic Lenten Fund, Swiss Catholic Women’s League, Swiss MIVA, Swiss Red Cross, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (SwissTPH), Tear Fund, Terre des hommes Foundation, terre des hommes schweiz, and World Vision Switzerland.