By Ambassador Pamela Hamamoto
at the NGO Side Event
“Getting There From Here: Fresh Approaches to Funding the Community-led HIV Response”
Hello, everybody. Exactly a week ago, on World AIDS Day, Secretary John Kerry reminded us of all the lives lost and communities devastated by HIV/AIDS. He also urged us to celebrate all those lives that have been saved, and the courageous individuals who have brought hope and healing to those living with and affected by this disease.
A lot of these individuals are quietly and anonymously fighting the pandemic at the community level. That is what you all do, and I’m here today to tell you that you can count on the United States Government and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to continue to do its part.
PEPFAR is committed to strengthening civil society engagement and investing in community leadership at all levels. The needs are immense: UNAIDS Fast Track Strategy estimates that to achieve the bold HIV treatment and prevention targets set in 2014, investments in community mobilization and services must increase more than threefold between 2015 and 2020. And according to the 2016-2021UNAIDS Strategy, the increase must be even greater through 2030.
So we have no time to waste, especially when experts tell us that we have a narrow window to change the course of the epidemic. Funding and building the capacity of community-based and civil society organizations is absolutely crucial to ensuring that no one is left behind.
That’s what PEPFAR is doing with the $100 million Key Population Investment Fund and through the DREAMS Innovation Challenge. I don’t need to remind anyone here that there are still millions of people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS who have yet to receive treatment, and that adolescent girls and young women in sub-Saharan Africa are up to 14 times more likely to get HIV/AIDS than young men.
We are progressing toward the first AIDS-free generation in more than 30 years, a goal once unimaginable. But our work is far from done. To end the epidemic by 2030, investments in community and coalitions of civil society organizations must be increased significantly. But I’m confident that all of us, by working together, can achieve these important and ambitious goals.