The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has announced that it will end the transmission of HIV in the country within 10 years—an announcement that was warmly welcomed by UNAIDS.
In 2016, all United Nations Member States pledged to end AIDS by 2030 in the United Nations Political Declaration on Ending AIDS. This recommitment from the United Kingdom is welcome news that the country remains determined to achieve that goal.
The United Kingdom has dramatically stepped up its efforts to respond to HIV in recent years, resulting in a 28% decline in new HIV cases in the past two years alone. However, the government says it can do more.
The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, launched the campaign, which is backed by an additional £600 000 from the Public Health England HIV Prevention Innovation Fund, at the AIDSfree Cities Global Forum in London on 30 January. The £600 000 will be used to support 14 volunteer organizations that are spearheading new approaches to HIV prevention and will focus on engaging at-risk or underserved communities.
Also at the event, the Secretary of State for International Development, Penny Mordaunt, made a bold declaration about the country’s commitment to ending AIDS globally. “While the world has made great strides in tackling HIV and AIDS, we need to step up our efforts,” she said. “We passionately believe we can create an AIDS-free future for the whole world. That’s the scale of our ambition.”
The United Kingdom Government has played a leading role in the global response to HIV since the start of the epidemic. It has invested £1.2 billion in the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and is expanding access to antiretroviral therapy though UK Aid, a five-year, £150 million, programme set up to change the lives of more than 3 million of the world’s poorest people.
“This announcement is a further example of how committed the United Kingdom really is to ending AIDS. Not only in the United Kingdom, but around the world,” said Tim Martineau, Deputy Executive Director of UNAIDS, Programme, a.i. “UNAIDS has worked closely with the United Kingdom since 1996 and we look forward to continuing that partnership to ensure that every penny invested brings us one step closer to ending AIDS.”
The event in London was part of the AIDSfree Appeal, a campaign led by the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the London Evening Standard and Independent newspapers. The money raised from public donations through the appeal will be used to support Elton John AIDS Foundation projects in six key cities around the world—Atlanta, United States of America, Delhi, India, Kyiv, Ukraine, London, Maputo, Mozambique, and Nairobi, Kenya. Through UK Aid Match, the United Kingdom Government has pledged to double public donations up to £2 million, to be spent on projects in Maputo and Nairobi. Read more via UNAIDS