ON World AIDS Day 2013, this Sunday, members of Dóchas, the umbrella group of Irish development NGOs, are urging the Government to maintain its historic commitment to ensuring that HIV services reach everyone in need.
The call comes on the back of a UN AIDS report, which states that in spite of progress on the whole, key populations, especially in African countries, are not being reached by the global HIV and AIDS response.
“Ireland has always championed the cause of the HIV response internationally, and spent a significant portion of its development aid budget on HIV and AIDS responses. But a new government policy for international development, One World One Future, was launched in May of this year, in which it appears HIV is afforded less of a priority,” said Noreen Gumbo of Trócaire and chair of the Dóchas working group on HIV and AIDS.
Ms Gumbo cautioned that vulnerable populations are often impeded from accessing life-saving services.
“Just three children out of every 10 who need it are currently receiving HIV treatment. The worldwide phenomenon of gender based violence continues to make women especially vulnerable to HIV infection. We are calling on the Government keep its historic commitment to address HIV internationally and to maintain the issue of HIV in developing countries on its agenda.”
Irish NGOs are calling on the Government to address HIV and AIDS adequately in the implementation plans, results frameworks and budgets associated with Ireland’s new international development policy, One World, One Future.
The Government is also being asked to commit to funding the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, and deliver on this commitment at the replenishment conference in Washington on Tuesday next.
Irish aid agencies are confronted with the reality of HIV and AIDS daily in their work in low-and middle-income countries, and especially in sub Saharan Africa. Regardless of the nature of their intervention, HIV is often endemic, and it can undermine development and emergency response efforts.