PARIS/GENEVA—UNAIDS has welcomed the launch of the End AIDS Coalition (EAC) during the 9th International AIDS Conference on HIV Science taking place in Paris, France. The EAC brings together a strong collaboration of leading AIDS experts, scientists, clinicians, policy-makers, faith leaders, business leaders and activists determined to end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030.
The EAC aims to amplify efforts to end the AIDS epidemic by strengthening linkages across research, resources and implementation, by encouraging the aggregation and analysis of data from the global AIDS response to identify barriers and encourage efficiencies and by inspiring a movement to mobilize and engage the next generation of young leaders in the response to HIV.
The founder of the End AIDS Coalition is the American fashion designer and amfAR chair, Kenneth Cole, who is also a UNAIDS International Goodwill Ambassador. Speaking at the launch, Mr Cole said the world was at a tipping point in the response to the HIV epidemic and stressed the need for all actors to join together to gain control of the epidemic before the window of opportunity closed.
The launch of the new coalition comes shortly after a new UNAIDS report, Ending AIDS: progress towards the 90-90-90 targets, showed that more than half of all people living with HIV now have access to HIV treatment and that AIDS-related deaths have almost halved since 2005. But the report also underlined the scale of the task ahead, with new HIV infections also declining but not at the pace needed to meet global targets.
The report emphasized the need to invest in new ways of delivering HIV treatment and prevention services to people and places most in need.
“Innovation and research are critical and must be the cornerstone of our efforts,” said UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé. “We cannot lose our sense of urgency. Without collaboration and investment in innovation, we will never be able to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.”
As well as calling for wider access to HIV treatment and prevention options, the EAC will also advocate for continued and sustained efforts to discover a vaccine and a cure.
Also present at the launch of the EAC were the Minister of Health, Botswana, Dorcas Makgato, United States Global AIDS Coordinator, Ambassador Deborah Birx, the Associate Scientific Director of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), Quarraisha Abdool Karim, the Interim Executive Director of the Global Fund, Marijke Wijnroks and Ambassador of the Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric AIDS Foundation, Jake Glaser.
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.