UNAIDS has developed a strategy dubbed Treatment 2.0 towards reaching universal access to HIV treatment. The strategy challenges international organisations, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Governments to use new and improved understanding about how HIV disease and HIV treatment work to improve the approach to HIV Treatment and Prevention.
Statistics show that over 10,600,000 people in Sub-Saharan Africa are in need of HIV treatment; only 3,911,000 are receiving treatment, this is in spite of the fact that Africa bears 68% of the global disease burden on HIV with 76% of all the HIV+ women in the world living in this region. Many African governments are lukewarm in their response to health and international donor assistance is flagging or going into reverse, particularly the commitment to fund universal access to HIV treatment.
Treatment 2.0 has five main goals which are:
• Increase in HIV treatment Access
• Simplify treatment delivery
• Lower HIV infection rates
• Reduce costs of HIV care
• Strengthen communities to engage in health services
• Protect Human Rights
The International Treatment Prepared Coalition (ITPC) in partnership with the AIDS & Rights Alliance for Southern Africa, on the 1st to the 4th of June, convened a meeting of 60 activists and experts from 15 countries mostly from Africa but also on USA, Thailand, and Switzerland. The meeting, which was held in Johannesburg, sought to address and discuss the role of the community in the utilisation of Treatment 2.0 as a strategy to scale HIV Treament and Prevention. Structured presentations and actual cases studies were received on three key main areas from renowned activists and community representatives. The three key main areas, which formed the agenda of the day, were as follows:
• Treatment 2.0, Treament as prevention and advocacy for treatment Access
• Improved Access to ARV Therapy, Community Based Service Delivery to further Treatment 2.0 Strategies
• Rights based approaches to prevention, treatment and support services
Group discussions were also utilised to help come up with advocacy strategies for each of the African regions on how to actualise the use of treatment 2.0. It was noted that Treatment 2.0 was not a stand alone strategy, but is to be utilised among the existing prevention strategies such as use of male and female condoms, male circumcision and clean needles.
The meeting brought together community activists, respected academics and seasoned campaigners for HIV and Human rights issues. Amongst the participants were Jonathan Cohen, head of Law and Health Initiative, Open Society Foundation,; Vuyiseka Dubula, the General Secretary of TAC; David Barr (ITPC); Sarah Zaidi, Executive Director ITPC; Solange Baptiste, ITPC Global Programmes Director; Michaela Clayton, Executive Director of ARASA; Allan Maleche, Coordinator KELIN and Bactrin Kilingo, ITPC African Programmes Director.
The meeting also noted that for this strategy to work effectively, the following concepts must be well understood by community members and taken into account by those implementing the strategy.
• Treatment as prevention
• Universal Access
• Patents, Generic Drugs and Free Trade Agreements
• Community Systems Strengthening
• Human Rights
Detailed facts sheets on these 5 key areas and recommendations from the workshop report will soon be posted in our resource centre and our partner’s organisation website of ARASA and ITPC.