World leaders adopt ambitious Political Declaration in the fight to end HIV/AIDS and TB

The 2021 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS, adopted by world leaders, commits to end HIV/AIDS and TB by 2030 and reverse the progress lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

9 June 2021,Geneva, Switzerland – The Stop TB Partnership welcomes the adoption of the 2021 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS by world leaders, committing to end HIV/AIDS and TB by 2030 and reverse the progress lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Declaration was adopted yesterday during the opening of the United Nations High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS, which is taking place in New York from 8-10 June.

The Stop TB Partnership welcomes the inclusion in the Declaration of many of the key targets and asks outlined in ‘Priorities for People Affected by TB and TB/HIV for the UN High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS’, developed together with our partners in April 2021.

“The Political Declaration sets out a path for an ambitious joint response to HIV/AIDS and TB. It sends a strong message from world leaders that people living with HIV/AIDS and TB must not be left behind as the world continues to focus on the COVID-19 response,” said Dr. Lucica Ditiu, Executive Director of the Stop TB Partnership. “We call on Member States to fully implement this Declaration and we stand ready to work in partnership with them to fulfil their commitments to end HIV/AIDS and TB by 2030. We will fully engage in the preparation and organization of the next UN High-Level Meeting on TB in 2023 when we will review our collective achievements towards ending these diseases.”

Key TB commitments made by world leaders include:

  • Noting that TB remains the leading cause of death among people living with HIV and that less than half of TB cases among people living with HIV are diagnosed and treated appropriately, and noting the necessity to increase financing for research and development of new tools for tuberculosis prevention, diagnosis and treatment, including for multi-drug resistant TB, for people living with HIV, as well as in the context of COVID-19 (paragraph 43);

  • Expanding access to the latest technologies for TB prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment and vaccination, ensuring that 90% of people living with HIV receive preventive treatment for TB by 2025, and reducing tuberculosis-related deaths among people living with HIV by 80% by 2025 (compared to a 2010 baseline) (paragraph 61.f);

  • Reducing the high rates of HIV co-infection with tuberculosis, hepatitis C, and sexually transmitted infections, including HPV and hepatitis B, as that contribute to HIV transmission and increased morbidity and mortality among people living with HIV (paragraph 67.c); and

  • Requesting the Secretary-General to contribute to the reviews of progress on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development taking place at the high-level political forum on sustainable development, as well as United Nations High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage in 2023 and the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis in 2023 (paragraph 71).

Although the Political Declaration contains bold joint commitments on HIV/AIDS and TB, civil society and affected community representatives highlighted several shortcomings. Language was weakened on sexual and reproductive health and rights, comprehensive sexuality education, harm reduction, sexual orientation and gender identity, community leadership, decriminalization, repealing punitive laws, and  TRIPS waivers.

Civil society partners of the Stop TB Partnership noted that the Declaration does not adequately address several priorities for an effective TB and TB/HIV response, including investment in participation, capacity, and leadership of key vulnerable population, and commitments to identify, monitor, and remove barriers related to human rights and gender that hinder and prevent access to health and social services.

In a concerning development, for the first time, the Political Declaration was subjected to a vote rather than adopted by consensus. Following the opening session yesterday, 165 member states voted in favor of the Political Declaration and four voted against due to lack of consensus on language related to harm reduction, law reform, and human rights.

On the eve of the UN High-Level Meeting, Dr. Ditiu joined UN, government, and civil society leaders at a high-level side event hosted by the World Health Organization titled ‘Ending TB Deaths among People with HIV: Step up the Momentum’. The recording is available here.

The program for the UN High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS is available here and the meeting livestream is available here.

Click to access the UNHLM on HIV/AIDS Political Declaration

Source: Stop TB Partnership

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By Stop TB Partnership

Published: June 9, 2021, 2:17 p.m.

Last updated: June 10, 2021, 1:33 p.m.

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