quarta-feira, junho 07, 2006
IAS sobre UNGASS+5
UNGASS DECLARATION FAILS TO DELIVER NEEDED COMMITMENTS ON HIV/AIDS
7 June 2006
The political declaration of the 2006 High-Level Meeting on AIDS (UNGASS) fails to establish concrete commitments to strengthen the response to the epidemic and adequately address the needs of HIV professionals, according to Helene Gayle, President of the International AIDS Society (IAS).
Dr. Gayle notes that, despite intensive input from the large numbers of civil society representatives at UNGASS, including the IAS, member states refused to put in place new targets aimed at expanding treatment, prevention and care services, and strengthening the health care workforce needed to deliver them.
“It is very disappointing that, while the need to strengthen and expand health care systems is recognized in the document, there are no concrete, measurable targets for countries and donors to aim for to achieve this goal. Scaling up to universal access in treatment, prevention and care can only happen if the critical shortage of health care workers and other HIV professionals is addressed. The declaration also fails to provide any timelines or targets on training, remuneration and innovative approaches to leveraging health human resources to respond to the epidemic, such as task-shifting and strengthening community-based care delivery. As such, it will be seen as a failure by those of us who recognize that unless human resource shortages are addressed, we can never achieve universal access,” said Dr Gayle.
Ensuring that scientifically-proven, evidence-based approaches to HIV/AIDS care, treatment and prevention were reflected in the document also proved contentious. Where evidence-based interventions are referenced, they are often introduced by language that weakens their impact, such as the need to take into account “local circumstances, ethics and cultural values” when delivering programmes.
“Twenty-five years into this epidemic we should be able to state clearly and uncategorically which interventions work, and which communities are most vulnerable to HIV infection,” said Dr Gayle. There is no reference to the need for substitution therapy in the declaration, despite many areas of the world where drugs such as methadone and buprenorphine are desperately needed to reduce opiate dependency and stem the tide of the epidemic among injecting drug users. In fact, even identifying populations at high risk for HIV infection such as injecting drug users, sex workers and men who have sex with men, was not included, with a number of member states unwilling to reference them in the text. Dr Gayle reinforced the need to learn from communities most at risk to HIV in delivering prevention, care and treatment programmes. “It is difficult but absolutely essential to talk about sexual behavior and drug use when we are talking about the drivers of this epidemic and the interventions that can have an impact; we cannot do that without being forthright about the communities and populations most vulnerable to HIV infection.”
The IAS is the world's leading independent association of HIV professionals, with more than 7,000 members from 153 countries. The IAS is a non-profit organization founded in 1988, and acts as an independent voice in the global response to AIDS on behalf of its members. The IAS is the custodian of the International AIDS Conferences, the paramount gathering of all disciplines in HIV/AIDS, held every two years, and organizes the successful IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention.