On this World AIDS Day 2015, imagine a world where we have everything we need – the tools, science, and shared goals – to reduce by 90 percent the number of women, men, and children newly infected by HIV. Imagine an AIDS-free generation where HIV is no longer a public health threat. This is not a distant dream – it is the extraordinary possibility before us right now.
But we must seize the opportunity to realize it. World AIDS Day 2015 is a chance to honor those who have lost their lives to AIDS, those who are living with HIV/AIDS, and the caregivers, families, friends, and communities who support them. But this day also marks a milestone: the world community has committed to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2030, as articulated in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
This is the moment for us to implement programs that will enable us to control the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Science has provided us with a rich toolkit to stop HIV: more effective and clinically proven medicines, diagnostic tools, such as test kits that are easier to use and provide results in minutes rather than hours or days; and more effective prevention tools and approaches. For example, we know that antiretroviral (ARV) treatment more than doubles a person’s prospects of staying healthy and surviving. ARV treatment also can prevent transmission from people living with HIV to their HIV-negative partners, and with regular use, ARVs can protect people from being infected.
The Government of Indonesia (GOI) has made a commitment to putting these new tools to work in its new Strategy and Action Plan for HIV 2015 – 2019. This includes reaching and providing immediate access to treatment for populations who are at higher than average risk of becoming infected with HIV. Implementation of the strategy will ensure new HIV infections and deaths from AIDS are reduced by 50%; at least half of the people living with HIV will be on life-saving ARV medication, and the number of HIV infections in infants born to HIV-positive mothers will be significantly reduced.
To accomplish these goals, the GOI has set ambitious new targets, using a combination of prevention, testing and treatment that incorporates the latest science, the latest evidence and more effective medicines and diagnostic tools, combined with the hard work of health workers, clinicians, communities and civil society organizations. The strategy also brings services closer to communities that need it. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) are pleased to partner with the GOI to meet the challenge and end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. Through our work with local civil society organizations, USAID was able to reach 100,589 members of priority and key populations with information on HIV/AIDS, and 81 percent of these were tested at public and private health facilities.
So now we have the science, the medicine, and we can see real results when we all work together – the National AIDS Commission, the Ministry of Health, the private sector, civil society organizations, the faith-based community, the United Nations, and donor agencies.
Achieving these goals will not be easy. To reach them, we all must share responsibility and resolve to strengthen our efforts. We all know what we must do to achieve epidemic control, and we now have the tools that make this possible. Working in partnership, we have come a long way since the darkest days of the epidemic, but our work is far from finished.
Science has delivered solutions. We have the tools. USAID and PEPFAR are proud to partner with the GOI in its commitment to bring this epidemic to an end.