"Infectious Diseases". Recommendations of the Forum on the meeting of the heads of G8 countries in St. Petersburg in July 2006
We, representatives of Civil Society, including People Living with HIV/AIDS, would like to extend our most sincere thanks to President Putin and commend his decision to make HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases a priority issue at the 2006 G8 Summit hosted by the Russian Federation.
AIDS continues to kill 8,000 people each day. More than 38 million people are living with HIV today, and there is a disproportionate and increasing burden of HIV/AIDS on women and girls. Only 1 in 5 persons living with HIV have access to prevention and treatment services. 15 million children have been orphaned due to AIDS world wide. HIV/AIDS constitutes a global emergency and poses one of the most formidable challenges to the development, progress and stability of our respective societies and the world at large. AIDS takes its heaviest toll amongst the most productive demographic group in society - people aged 20 to 40 - and continues to threaten social stability and national security.
Despite being curable, tuberculosis kills nearly two million people each year and just over 50% of TB patients have access to life-saving, anti-TB drugs. TB is the leading killer of people living with AIDS and is responsible for up to 30% of AIDS deaths worldwide. Africa’s HIV/AIDS epidemic is driving an explosion of TB and is the only continent where the TB incidence rate is still increasing. In addition, malaria causes more than 300 million acute illnesses and kills as many as 2.7 million people every year.
In order to stop the global spread of these three major killers we call on the G8 leaders to:
- scale up universal access to quality and comprehensive prevention, treatment, care and support services by applying successful prevention measures already developed, tested and proven effective in order to avert a substantial increase in HIV/AIDS cases in the coming decades;
- confront the injection drug use-driven epidemics in many parts of the world by promoting two evidenced-based and highly effective measures that address their specific needs by a) scaling up needle exchange at the national level exceeding at least 60% of coverage, and b) make substitution therapy available. We specifically urge G8 leaders to institute substitution therapy as a measure to prevent HIV, reduce crime rates, and ensure ARV adherence to avoid the emergence of untreatable resistant forms of the virus;
- recognize the destructive nature of the TB/HIV co-epidemic and ensure integration of prevention and treatment services related to both infections;
- support the promotion of male and female condoms as a key primary prevention method to avoid HIV infection amongst the general population and not only targeted vulnerable groups;
- recognize that gender inequality, stigma, discrimination (in particular, discrimination based on race and sexual orientation), social exclusion and denial of human rights and fundamental freedoms are major drivers of the global HIV epidemic and must be fully and urgently addressed at all levels of society;
- review, adopt, implement, and enforce legislation and policies to protect and promote the rights of people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS, and those who are particularly vulnerable to HIV infection;
- ensure that national health systems are strengthened and the HIV response be integrated into primary health services that are provided in an equitable manner by trained personnel;
- help reduce the global HIV/AIDS resource gap both nationally and internationally, including full funding of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Global Plan to Stop TB and the Gleneagles commitment to Universal Access to HIV/AIDS treatment by 2010;
- ensure quality treatment and care by insisting on the use of evidence-based practices and an adequate monitoring of implementing these approaches by health care providers both at the levels of primary health and inpatient care;
- increase institutional and other investments for fostering Research & Development (R&D) activities in order to develop more efficient and affordable medicines and vaccines to properly treat and prevent such infectious diseases as TB, HIV/AIDS and malaria. In relation to this, G8 countries are recommended to cooperate and support R&D efforts of product development by Public-Private partnerships, particularly for new diagnostics and vaccines;
- increase investment for female-controlled methods of prevention including microbicides, drugs, vaccines and diagnostics for AIDS, TB, malaria and other neglected diseases;
- acknowledge the central role of people living with HIV/AIDS in accordance with the GIPA (Greater Involvement of People Living with HIV/AIDS) principles—at all levels of and as equal partners in the national and international response, including in the setting of goals and priorities; allocation of resources; design, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of HIV/AIDS policies and programs;
- recognize that violence against women and girls, including all forms of rape, female genital mutilation, incest, early and forced marriage, trafficking and sexual and economic exploitation, increases their vulnerability to HIV/AIDS and contributes to the conditions fostering its spread. We urgently request G8 countries to reform and enforce legislation to protect women and girls from violence, and, in this regard, stress that women have the right to have control over and decide freely on matters related to their sexuality, including their sexual and reproductive health; and
- encourage trade agreements that take into account public health needs and avoid restricting access to essential medicines.
We urge the G8 countries to increase resources that reduce the impact of the inequality of women affected by HIV by eliminating all forms of discrimination and violence against women and abuses of sexual and reproductive health and rights;
We also urge the G8 leaders to support Civil Society together with multilateral agencies to implement strategies and develop a comprehensive package of services that respond to the needs of those who are particularly vulnerable to HIV infection, such as injecting drug users, sex workers, men who have sex with men, prison inmates and vulnerable children;
We urge the G8 leaders to be accountable to previous declarations and associated global targets included in the 2001 Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS and the 2006 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, the G8 Communiqué from Gleneagles (2005), the Dublin, Beijing and the 2001 Doha Declarations, the Africa Action Plan, the Paris AIDS Summit Declaration of 1994 and the Millennium Development Goals;
In order to assure the longer-term financing required to support universal access to prevention, treatment and care, G8 leaders should pursue a range of innovative financing mechanisms including support for the International Drug Purchasing Facility, the International Financing Facility and Advanced Market Commitments for vaccines;
We request that you take these recommendations forward by actively involving civil society expertise at all levels, especially people living with HIV/AIDS;
We also recommend that Germany prioritize HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria at future G8 Summits in order to better coordinate the global response and reduce the socio-economic impact of these diseases;
We, members of Civil Society, pledge our full support to work in partnership with G8 governments to fight AIDS, TB and malaria. We invite President Putin, and each of the G8 leaders to show compassionate leadership and visit a civil society-run HIV/AIDS programme before the end of this year. The personal engagement and support of each of the G8 heads of state will be critical to the success to all our efforts.