By Filippo von Schloesser, EATG member, Observer at the UNAIDS PCB
As an Observer at the Planning Committee Board (PCB) meeting that took place virtually in Geneva (June 28 to July 2nd), among the reports and requests of the world NGOs, I introduced EATG’s position:
Brussels, 29 June 2022
The European AIDS Treatment Group (EATG), recognises the success in achieving and passing the target 90-90-90 in some but not all countries. Too many populations at risk of infection and living with HIV are facing the lack of political commitment and cooperation in many countries.
EATG, endorses the delegation’s reports to the PCB UNAIDS about the inequalities and migration critical aspects and is aligned to promote and work for the preparedness and mental support with countries in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia through community-based programmes to raise awareness of the vulnerability of people with HIV during times of health crisis.
In particular, we call for UNAIDS to support the design and implementation of additional training programmes with local communities to integrate HIV awareness, prevention and treatment through sexual and reproductive health, harm reduction and mental health.
Our recent pan-European study on mental health, dated June 1st, underlines urgent reported unmet needs of support and services in Eastern Europe and Central Asia registered by more than 60% of the HIV population in the period of the pandemics. More than 65% of the participants declared they never had an examination.
Beyond depression and isolation, the results have reported a strong increase of discomfort due to HIV stigma and discrimination. We therefore encourage a wider implementation of services that include community-based programmes for mental health support also through digital systems or any appropriate support to assist people also not in presence.
Filippo von Schloesser
OBS PCB DELEGATION EATG
The Secretariat took note of EATG’s position paper which was included among the concepts of the final report.
I would like to summarise some of the decisions that were taken for action between now and 2026 after we listened to the testimonials of prosecuted women, transgender people and migrants. The intense, deep, intimate, moral and physical suffering of the people oppressed who are living in many countries across all regions of the world were reported and influenced our recommendations to the Governing Body.
The PCB has agreed that the global objectives of the UN (90-90-90) have not yet been achieved, except for 3 countries in Africa (Namibia, Eswatini and Uganda -all three over 95%) while the rest of vulnerable countries remain below the 73% of people living with HIV on treatment. Part of the reason is due to the lack of funds most countries had promised, and part is due to the lack of coordination among the different UN Agencies (11) and the target populations/NGOs in most countries. The forecast cost to achieve the 95-95-95 objective is around 29 billion dollars. Nevertheless, confounding factors are making the objectives more complex to achieve and bring to our sight new or increasing critical issues that in the recent past were considered as side situations in the front of the HIV core problem.
In accordance to the requests of the most vulnerable people, The PCB has prioritised:
– to launch activities of preparedness for the prevention of HIV and other infectious diseases in coordination with local populations and in accordance to the different social and cultural approaches to the health determinants
– to start territorial plans of detection. Prevention and cure of a new growing plague that is hitting women in low income countries who suffer more and more of cervical cancer
– to provide Covid-19 vaccines in all those countries where the health systems cannot provide them (a specific strategy to request support from producer countries has been designed)
– to support migrant population that in most cases have no access to information or healthcare systems with the help of local NGOs, in order to prevent the spread of HIV after reaching wealthy countries
– to support educational programs to harmonize policies in those countries where women, transgender people, MSM, PLWH are prosecuted and criminalized.
The PCB has integrated in its recommendations the previous declarations of the UN High Level Meeting, stating no health programme can take place if injustice and inequalities are not ended. “END INEQUALITIES, END AIDS” is the resuming slogan. This declaration has not been voted by Islamic countries and the Russian republic.
At the upcoming 49th PCB Meeting in December 2021 an NGO report will be presented and will define and explore four societal enablers in particular – education, employment, healthcare, and laws and policies. Please take the time to respond to the NGO Delegation to the PCB’s survey which will close on September 29.
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