The AIDS movement, led by people living with and affected by HIV, continues to inspire the world and offer a model for a people-centred, rights-based approach to global health and social transformation. And yet, today, amid a swirl of competing and complex global concerns, we confront a serious new obstacle: the oppressive weight of complacency. This is happening when we know that if we make the right decisions and the right investments now, the end of AIDS can be within our grasp. This moment is, however, fleeting. We have a fragile window of opportunity – measured in months – in which to scale up.
If we do not Fast-Track our response, the costs of the epidemic – to national finances and to human lives – will grow into a debt we can never repay. We will fail to reach the sustainable development agenda target of ending the AIDS epidemic. The epidemic will resurge, this time as an orphan disease. We will have squandered the global political capital we have worked so hard to win, and the AIDS response will have lost its unique power to transform global health and save millions of lives.
The UNAIDS 2016–2021 Strategy is a bold call to action to get on the Fast-Track and reach people being left behind. It is an urgent call to front-load investments. It is a call to reach the 90–90–90 treatment targets, to close the testing gap and to protect the health of the 22 million people living with HIV who are still not accessing treatment. It is a call to redress the deplorably low treatment coverage for children living with HIV.