This week I joined UK, international and student activists at a STOPAIDS parliamentary event to mark World AIDS Day on 1st December.
UK investment has helped to transform the global HIV response and I voiced my support for renewed UK leadership in the push to end the global AIDS epidemic by 2030.
I spoke with activists about how far we have come in tackling the AIDS epidemic, with more than 13 million people now accessing treatment, up from only 700,000 ten years ago. AIDS-related deaths have declined from a peak of 2.2 million to 1.5 million in 2013.
The results we have achieved through UK investment in tackling AIDS are astounding. We’ve saved millions of lives and now have the opportunity to push on and end the epidemic by 2030. But many lives have been lost to AIDS in the UK and around the world, and millions more will be at risk if we become complacent. I urge our government to lead this global effort, remaining focused until the end.
Last year was the first when more people were added to treatment than newly contracted HIV, meaning we are getting ahead of the virus. But we still have a long way to go before the end, and I joined STOPAIDS in calling upon world leaders to rapidly scale up the response in the next five years, or risk seeing the epidemic spring back with a higher rate of new HIV infections than today.
This Monday 1st December marks the 26th anniversary of World AIDS Day, a day when activists and people living with HIV from around the world come together in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died.
STOPAIDS is the network of 80 UK agencies working since 1986 to secure an effective global response to HIV and AIDS. www.stopaids.org.uk