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Conversations in 2014: The Global Response to the HIV/AIDS Epidemic

World AIDS Day logoIn the lead-up to our annual observance of World AIDS Day on December 1, we at AIDS.gov are reflecting on some of the stories that generated interest on our blog in 2014.  Today, we look back at some of posts about global efforts to respond to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and move us closer to achieving the goal of an AIDS-free generation:

Sharing Science Highlights from AIDS 2014. Among our most-accessed blog posts this year were our dispatches from the 20th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014), which was held in Melbourne, Australia, July 20-25, 2014. As part of our coverage, Dr. Ron Valdiserri reflected on the breadth and depth of topics covered at AIDS 2014 that expanded the discourse on HIV care outcomes and the future of a cure.  In daily video updates, NIH’s Dr. Carl Diffenbach Exit Disclaimer shared his observations from each day of the conference, and we had the opportunity to hear from several other federal partners, community members, and presenters at AIDS 2014. A round-up of all of our AIDS 2014 conference coverage can be found here.

Studying the UNAIDS Gap Report. One of the items that generated a great deal of interest in the global HIV community this year was the release of the UNAIDS Gap Report Exit Disclaimer, a new report analyzing the reasons for the widening gap between people around the world who are gaining access to HIV prevention, treatment, and care, and those who are left behind, and presenting action points to close that gap. Released at AIDS 2014, the report provides the latest data on the current epidemic and detailed information about a number of populations around the world that are under-served and at higher risk of HIV. We sat down with Mary Mahy of UNAIDS to learn more about this new report and discuss what its findings mean for the global HIV/AIDS community.

Ambassador Birx with Miguel Gomez at AIDS 2014Welcoming Ambassador Birx. In April, we were honored to welcome Dr. Deborah Birx as she was sworn in as the new Ambassador-at-Large and U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator to lead all U.S. Government international HIV/AIDS efforts. Ambassador Birx now oversees implementation of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease in history, as well as all U.S. Government engagement with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. We shared Ambassador Birx’s statement on PEPFAR’s approach to achieving an AIDS-Free Generation as a core pillar of the United States’ global health agenda, and had the opportunity to talk with Ambassador Birx about her priorities for PEPFAR as well as the launch of the new PEPFAR Dashboards as an important tool in these efforts.

Responding to Violence Against Women and Girls as Part of Global HIV Efforts. As we reported in a recent post, gender-based violence continues to take a devastating toll on women and girls and affects efforts to halt the spread of HIV/AIDS both here in the U.S. and around the globe. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) Exit Disclaimer, one in three women worldwide has experienced physical and/or sexual violence in her lifetime, and intimate partner violence increases women’s risk for HIV infection by more than 50 percent, and in some instances by up to four-fold. As Catherine Russell, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, and Deborah von Zinkernagel, then the Acting U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator shared in their much-accessed blog post on this important topic, global leaders came together during the 58th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women Exit Disclaimer to examine the intersection between gender-based violence and HIV, and PEPFAR announced an updated Gender Strategy, requiring all its country programs to report the number, age, and sex of people that they support in accessing post-gender-based-violence care as part of their comprehensive HIV/AIDS efforts.

These posts about HIV global activities can inform your local conversations, events, and actions on or around World AIDS Day. We look forward to reporting on more new developments in the arena of HIV in 2015 as domestic and global partners continue their efforts to bring an end to HIV both here and around the world.

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