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Urge G8 to make 2010 count for Universal Access

4. May 2010

    In 2005, the G8 committed to providing Universal Access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support by 2010. This target will not be met.

    Despite some progress in expanding access to treatment, UNAIDS calculates that for every two people who first accessed treatment in 2007, five became newly infected with HIV in the same period. What’s more, under the new World Health Organization treatment guidelines, an estimated 11 million people with advanced HIV infection today have no access to antiretroviral therapy.

    In 2010, the G8 must recommit to achieving Universal Access and must ensure that, this time, its words are translated into action. This will require political and financial commitment to a time-bound action plan that must be agreed upon at the G8’s upcoming Summit in Canada this June.

    Join with a wide range of civil society actors in urging the G8 to act now to achieve Universal Access. The world, including the 33 million people currently living with HIV, cannot afford to wait any longer.

    What can you do?

    1. Read and sign on to the EAA letter urging the G8’s Canadian hosts to make 2010 count for Universal Access. The deadline for signatures is 4 June 2010. Organizational signatures (organization name and the country in which you are based) are preferred. To indicate your support, send an e-mail to rfoley [at] e-alliance.ch or fax: + 41 22 710 2387.

    EAA will then send the final letter with all the signatures to Prime Minister Harper in Canada. You will receive a copy of the letter to send to your own country’s Canadian embassy.

    G8 countries are: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

    2. Add your voice to wider civil society calls for G8 action on Universal Access by:

    • signing up to the World AIDS Campaign’s online petition at http://www.ua-now.org
    • writing a letter as part of the International AIDS Society’s campaign at http://www.iasociety.org
    • highlighting Universal Access as a key message within the Interfaith Partnership (http://www.faithchallengeg8.com/) and the ‘At the Table’ campaign (http://www.atthetable2010.org)


      Dear Prime Minister Harper,

      We are writing to urge you, as host of June’s G8 Summit in Canada, to ensure that 2010 is a pivotal year in the drive to provide Universal Access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.

      As faith-based organizations from around the world, we deeply regret that the G8’s 2005 pledge to provide Universal Access to all who need it by 2010 will be missed. Despite some progress in expanding access to antiretroviral treatment since 2005, the stark reality is that 1.7 million adults and 280,000 children died as a result of AIDS in 2008 and today an estimated 11 million people still wait for life-saving treatment, including hundreds of thousands of children.

      The Universal Access goal is not about figures; it is about life and death. The G8 must seize the opportunity provided by its upcoming Summit to renew its political and financial commiment to achieving Universal Access and to reassure the 33 million people currrently living with HIV of its commitment to them.

      Recent history has shown that a reconfirmation of the Universal Access pledge on its own, however, is simply not enough. Although the G8 has laudably recommitted to Universal Access every year since 2005, the goal remains unmet. In 2010, therefore, a G8 promise must be followed by G8 action. Crucially, a fully costed and time-bound plan of action for realizing Universal Access must be developed and agreed upon.

      In particular, the promise of Universal Access will remain a distant dream without adequate funding. The G8’s failure to deliver the funds it committed in 2005 comes at a time when a global scale-up of treatment and prevention access is increasingly urgent to meet the health and development Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. For example, the Global Fund, which is essential to achieving Universal Access and the health MDGs, has just launched a replenishment process, yet even the highest scenario presented to donors in March, will not achieve these goals.

      What’s more, the effects of the global financial crisis coupled with severe shortages of HIV treatment, stalled progress on the expansion of HIV prevention and services, and the unacceptable violations of the human rights of people living with and affected by HIV, remind us that any hard won progress is fragile and reversible. In 2010, it is imperative that the G8 moves forward rather than back on the Universal Access goal.

      Please be assured of our prayers and support as you discuss these issues with other world leaders and seriously consider how to turn your words into action. As people of faith, many of us are already active in HIV prevention, treatment care and support, actively supported not only by international donors but funds from within religious communities. It is only when we all pull together to scale up both action and financial commitment that all people living with HIV will receive the treatment and support they need to live life to the full. It is only then that fewer people will become infected with the virus. And it is only then that Universal Access will be achieved.

      Yours in faith,

      [organizational signatures to be added here]

The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance is a broad international network of churches and Christian organizations cooperating in advocacy on food and HIV and AIDS. The Alliance is based in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information, see http://www.e-alliance.ch/

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