Ahead of the International AIDS Conference (AIDS2014), UNAIDS has released a major report emphasising the progress and highlighting the gaps in the global response to HIV. While many people have benefited from the response, leading to a 38 percent reduction in the number of new infections between 2001 and 2013, not all populations have benefited equally. Populations who are marginalised, stigmatised and discriminated against, those affected by harmful gender norms, poverty, legal and social inequalities, and people who lack access to quality health care services, continue to be disproportionately at-risk and vulnerable.
The 2014 UNAIDS GAP report emphasises the lack of total inclusion in the current response to the HIV epidemic. UNAIDS recommends a focus shift to populations that are underserved and at higher risk of HIV is needed to end AIDS. In order to develop a relevant response, more information is needed on people most affected by HIV, combined with more attention given to stigma and discrimination, punitive legal environments, barriers of civil society engagement and the lack of investment in tailored programmes.
To move forward in the global response to HIV, it is crucial to focus on populations that are underserved and at higher risk of HIV and invest in greater research and innovation to ensure freedom and equality for all.