A UK Government fully engaged in the HIV and AIDS Response

The UK Government has led the global response to HIV/AIDS over the past decade, and has championed human rights as a central part of this response in opposition to less liberal voices. However, we are concerned about the current priority currently being given to HIV and AIDS.

STOPAIDS believes the lack of a clear UK Government strategy is undermining the global HIV response. It is vital that DFID publish a strategy on global health and HIV, with targets, indicators of success and accountability mechanisms.

To prepare the way, STOPAIDS is embarking on producing a white paper on global health, a nonpartisan analysis, making the case for a strategy on global health as well as helping to provide the evidence for how HIV and TB can be integrated into the wider health and development agendas.

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Pushing for an Effective Strategy

The current Government’s goals in relation to HIV and AIDS were outlined back in 2011, in the Position Paper Towards Zero Infections. STOPAIDS published our response to Towards Zero Infections in August 2011, welcoming the more detailed articulation of the Government’s response to the global HIV epidemic.

STOPAIDS members identified the following as areas on which to encourage DFID:

 

More specific and measurable targets in terms of service provision, and financial commitment to the Global Fund.

 

Exploring gender specificities of the HIV response, and intersections with gender-based violence, and recognising the broad spectrum of women’s experiences and needs.

 

Focusing on the criminalisation of most at risk populations and impacts on the HIV response, and engaging with civil society and community-level actors, especially in their work to tackle stigma and discrimination against these groups.

 

Pursuing an integrated model for service delivery beyond just prevention, and making links between the HIV response and broader health and development goals, given DFID’s intention to scale down bilateral HIV programmes.

In 2012, our Why Stop Now? campaign called on the UK Government to publish a clear strategy for their work on HIV and AIDS. We again specifically highlighted the need to commit to maintaining the UK’s investment in HIV and AIDS through the Global Fund; to a response centred on all people living with HIV, including key populations in both middle income countries and in the UK; and to continued UK strategic and financial leadership internationally.

In November 2013, we applauded renewed UK Government leadership with the announcement of £1 billion funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria and an uplift in funding for UNAIDS.

STOPAIDS was a partner to DFID and Oxford Policy Management on the 2013 review of the Position Paper and broadly welcomed Towards Zero Infections – 2 years on. In particular, we applauded DFID’s statement of priorities to 2015: ‘key populations; women and girls; and the integration of the HIV-response within sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR), TB and wider health system strengthening, as well as integration with other development priorities’.

However, we retain fundamental concerns about the low status of the Position Paper within DFID and the lack of measurability of the targets contained in the paper.

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Moving Toward 2015

We are now engaging with DFID across a range of issues with a view to setting clearer and more measurable goals for 2014 and 2015. More broadly, we are working with allies across global health to put the case for the adoption of a clear strategy on global health in 2015.

Over the next three years we will work with government and all political parties to ensure that after the next election the new Secretary of State for International Development acts on a commitment to create a strategy with key targets and indicators for success.

For more information on this process or to engage STOPAIDS’ advocacy group working on this, please email ben@stopaids.org.uk.

Background Information

Between July and September 2013, STOPAIDS convened workshops with civil society in London, Pretoria and Delhi. Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Lynne Featherstone MP travelled to attend the workshop in Pretoria before visiting projects in Malawi – find the case studies generated in advance of these meetings here, and read our formal response submission to the review here.