July 20-25, 2014 | Melbourne, Australia
The 20th International AIDS Conference (IAC), themed Stepping up the Pace, presented new scientific knowledge and many opportunities for structured dialogue on the major issues facing the global response to HIV. The conference also provided an opportunity to highlight the HIV epidemic in the Asia-Pacific region, with high-level speakers including former U.S. President Bill Clinton, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé, and activist and artist, Sir Bob Geldof. At the conclusion of the conference attendees endorsed and signed the Melbourne Declaration: a statement that “nondiscrimination is fundamental to an evidence-based, rights-based and gender transformative response to HIV”, prioritizing key populations in the global HIV response.
The conference provided a platform to share new scientific developments, research and lessons from past efforts. New research released showed that leading donors and affected countries have failed to implement WHO recommendations to address TB-HIV co-infection. The report, From Rhetoric To Reality, published by ACTION shows that, where TB-HIV activities are reflected in national plans, they are overwhelmingly carried out by TB programs and neglected by HIV programs. The research found that, among Global Fund programs in 32 countries with high TB-HIV co-infection rates, HIV programs received eight times more funding than TB programs, but TB programs allocated three times more funding to joint TB-HIV activities than HIV programs did. The report also acknowledged that policies related to the Fund’s New Funding Model aim to correct this imbalance by requiring joint concept notes from countries with high dual burdens of TB and HIV in an effort to improve coordination and better prioritize TB-HIV interventions.
As the leading international funding agency for the fight against HIV/AIDS, the Global Fund was well-represented at the event. Global Fund Board Chair and Indonesian Health Minister Nafsiah Mboi spoke on a special panel, drawing from her experience to provide HIV prevention services in Indonesia. Minister Mboi made a compelling and moving case for addressing HIV among injecting drug users in Indonesia. “We have 330,000 young people who are injecting drugs… What do we want to do?” she asked. “Do we want to kill them? Or do we want to save them? …Because if you don’t do anything, [and] we keep fighting among us, they will die.” Watch the panel session here and read more about the Global Fund at IAC 2014 here.
Private Sector at IAC 2014
Private sector initiatives to tackle the AIDS epidemic were highlighted in a number of sessions by Global Fund corporate partners. Chevron, the Fund’s first Corporate Champion, held a reception to build awareness of the private sector’s role in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The Global Fund’s newest Corporate Champion, BHP Billiton, held an event at their headquarters in Melbourne. Minister Mboi in her remarks at the opening ceremony lauded Oil Search, one of the few private sector principal recipients of Global Fund grants, for their commitment to fighting AIDS in Papua New Guinea. The Oil Search Health Foundation also sponsored the photographic exhibition Access to Life at the event. Read more about these Global Fund partners at IAC here.
Private sector companies were also represented on several panels and sessions at the conference, including:
- AIDS and the Private Sector – Lessons from the Asia Pacific: The Asia Pacific Business Coalition on AIDS (APBCA) hosted a business breakfast sponsored by Abt Associates and OCS (Outsourced Client Solutions) to look at the private sector’s response to HIV in the region. The panel included speakers from Chevron, Abt Associates and the Myanmar Business Coalition.
- Public Private Partnerships: Leveraging Complementary Strengths for Impact at Scale: The plenary discussion highlighted the importance of public-private partnerships (PPPs) in scaling-up HIV interventions using successful examples from private sector companies, including Oil Search in Papua New Guinea, a Principal Recipient implementing Global Fund grants for HIV and malaria. Panelists from Chevron, Oil Search and senior Global Fund staff examined the future trends of PPPs and looked at innovative interventions to improve access to HIV services.
- Building Private-Sector Partnerships with NGOs and Foundations: A Radical New Approach on the Frontlines of HIV and AIDS: Attendees learned about an innovative partnership between Canadian company AIMIA and the Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF) to form a charitable pooling program, Aeroplan Beyond Miles. The panel presented best practices and innovative models of cross-sector partnership.
- The Role of the Private Sector in Stepping Up the Pace of Supply for HIV/AIDS Commodities: Partnership for Supply Chain Management,Imperial Health Sciences, Management Sciences for Health and John Snow, Inc. hosted a satellite session on the role of the private sector in expanding supply of HIV/AIDS commodities and overall delivery of health products.