Market Overview

AHF Urges G20 Countries to Do More on Global Public Health

Share:

Under Argentina's Presidency of the G20, leading economies in Latin
America need to step up their contributions to fight against global AIDS
and other related public-health threats

Civil society health organizations, experts and world leaders meeting
this week at the C20 (Civil 20) Summit in Buenos Aires urge G20
governments to incorporate key public health topics into the November
2018 G20 Summit agenda.

"The G20 has more power to achieve an impact on international
development than any other world organization," said Dr. Jorge
Saavedra
, Executive Director of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF)
Global Public Health Institute at the University of Miami. "As a whole,
the G20 represents 85% of the world gross domestic product and 80% of
world trade. Due to its economic power and influence, the health
policies developed by the G20 to address existing and emerging world
health threats may set the course for the rest of the world."

"The G20 summit, under Argentina's presidency, is an opportunity for
world leaders to reaffirm their commitment to stopping the HIV/AIDS,
tuberculosis and malaria epidemics and address critical public
health-related challenges," said AHF Senior Director of Global Advocacy
and Policy Loretta Wong.

Every year, nearly 1 million women, children and men die of
AIDS-related causes – the equivalent of a large city being annihilated
every year
– due to a chronic disease that is now treatable and
preventable. From a socio-economic standpoint, mortality of this
magnitude, and particularly of people in the prime of their lives,
represents a tragic loss of invaluable human potential to innovate,
build communities, start families and make a better world with respect
to many other aspects of human activity.

While HIV/AIDS appears in the headlines far less today than in prior
decades, the magnitude of its impact is still startling. There are an
estimated 36.9 million people living with HIV/AIDS globally,
with approximately 1.8 million new infections annually.
Additionally, many are not aware of their status and potentially not
taking the necessary steps to prevent further transmission. Despite
advancements in treatment and prevention, the new infection rate has
only shown a 16% reduction in adults since 2010 – a pace far too slow to
bring HIV/AIDS under control
.

Funding is a major obstacle in curbing the epidemic. Global health
development assistance for HIV/AIDS has dropped by USD 3 billion since
2012. This is unacceptable and AHF rejects the notion that there are no
additional funds available to respond to HIV/AIDS, especially when
annual military spending tops USD 1.7 trillion globally.

According to UNAIDS, approximately USD 21.3 billion is currently being
invested in HIV prevention, diagnosis and treatment, but that is not
enough.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, created in 2002
to help finance the fight against these three diseases in developing
countries, has had difficulty in raising more resources. Latin American
countries and G20 members Argentina, Brazil and Mexico have received
millions of Global Fund dollars in the past but are not yet helping to
replenish it.

As shown by epidemiological and financial figures, the world seems to
be stuck in place in its response to HIV/AIDS
. Unless steps are
taken to invigorate and fully finance global public health's most urgent
priorities, the global economic and technological gap will continue to
grow, creating increased instability, social conflict and economic
insecurity.

With this in mind, AHF urges G20 members to implement definite measures
to address the following compelling global public health challenges:

1. Financing: G20 countries should increase their contributions
to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and in more
general terms, demand strong bilateral and multilateral commitments to
external aid for public health.

2. Drug accessibility: G20 countries should remove barriers to
pharmaceutical imports and the domestic production of affordable generic
drugs, which are essential to public health, especially in low- and
middle-income countries.

3. HIV testing and treatment: Governments should generate
policies that broaden the scope of HIV testing programs. In the absence
of a cure or an effective HIV vaccine, the most effective way to control
the HIV/AIDS epidemic is by providing HIV testing and treatment to as
many people as possible.

4. Antimicrobial resistance: Antimicrobial resistance represents
a dangerous threat to global public health. With the appearance of many
drug-resistant pathogens, such as gonorrhoea, tuberculosis and others,
the risk of unstoppable pandemics is constantly growing. The world
should address this issue by significantly increasing investment in
research and preparing for outbreaks.

5. Neglected tropical diseases: As shown by the Ebola outbreak in
2014, we ignore neglected tropical diseases at our own peril. The cost
of not being prepared for an inevitable outbreak in an interconnected
world could mean the loss of millions of lives, serious travel and
global trade disruption, and long-lasting costs for the reconstruction
of the affected communities.

"G20 countries represent billions of dollars in economic activity every
year," said Dr. Saavedra. "In contrast, addressing these urgent public
health issues would only require a minimal additional investment and
would bring substantial benefits to the world economy in terms of
equity, reduced economic distress and a healthier world for everyone. On
the other hand, G20 governments should also consider that some countries
are going through a serious health crisis and require an urgent global
humanitarian response. Among these countries are Syria, Yemen, Libya,
the Democratic Republic of Congo and Venezuela."

"In Argentina, the government has outlined the main priorities for its
G20 presidency, which focus on addressing the social and economic gap
that continues to grow due to technological innovation and automation," said
Dr. Miguel Pedrola
, Scientific Director for AHF Latin America and
the Caribbean. "Undoubtedly, this problem deserves attention, but it is
important to point out that the digital divide is aggravated by more
fundamental, unresolved issues. From its position as G20 president,
Argentina has, not only the possibility, but the responsibility to be
the voice of those who are ‘invisible' – those who truly suffer due to
health system inequalities and who are usually highly stigmatized and
discriminated against."

As a signing country, Argentina has committed to meeting the 2020 goals
proposed by the PAHO/WHO, defined as "90/90/90" – 90% of people living
with HIV becoming aware of their status, 90% of those having access to
treatment and 90% of the people receiving treatment having suppressed
viral loads.

As per the official figures in the HIV, AIDS and STD Bulletin published
December 2017, Argentina is far from meeting 90/90/90 goals for 2020 and
will not be able to reduce that gap in less than two years.

Click here
for a chart outlining ARGENTINA'S 2020 GOALS toward testing, treatment
and viral suppression under ‘90/90/90.'

AHF and other civil society organizations urge the Argentine Government
to act now to work on these pressing public policies to enable the
country to fulfill its promise regarding its HIV/AIDS response.

For more information, please contact Dr. Miguel Pedrola at +54 9 3462 62
3267 or at miguel.pedrola@aidshealth.org.

Interviews are available upon request.

About AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF)

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS
organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over
968,000 people in 41 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin
America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn
more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org,
find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth
and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare
and Instagram: @aidshealthcare.

AHF Argentina initiated its program in 2013 and supports over
13,000 patients in clinics throughout the Argentine territory. AHF and
partners also provide rapid HIV testing in 14 provinces throughout the
country and distributes AHF's free LOVE brand condoms, which are
manufactured in Argentina. As of 2017, AHF had tested over 120,000
people for HIV, with a 0.88% prevalence of new diagnoses.

About the C20. https://civil-20.org

This year, Argentina is hosting the G20 presidency (Forum for 19
industrialized and emerging countries, together with the European
Economic Community), and has the potential to be a spokesperson for the
inequalities that exist in our region and country. The G20 has ad hoc
consulting groups that contribute to the discussion of the President's
agenda, with the intention of setting the direction of world policies.
These groups are formed based on common interests and comprised of those
(activists, business people, politicians, etc.) who often have different
objectives. Currently, there are seven affinity groups representing the
private sector (Business 20), social sector (Civil 20), trade
unions (Labor 20), the scientific community (Science 20), the academic
community (Think 20), women (Women 20) and youth (Youth 20). For more
information, visit: https://civil-20.org/c20-face-to-face-working-group-meeting/

View Comments and Join the Discussion!