While global prevalence of HIV infection (percentage of persons infected with HIV) appears to have stabilized in recent years, the global number of people living with HIV is increasing because of ongoing accumulation of new infections with longer survival times, measured over a continuously growing general population.
Across the world, a small but growing number of countries have reduced HIV prevalence through sound prevention efforts. The high rates of transmission of HIV result largely from failure to use the available and effective prevention strategies and tools, and poor coverage of HIV prevention programmes. HIV prevention services were only reaching 20% of people in need in 2005, while coverage for key populations at higher risk of exposure to HIV were considerably lower.
Effective HIV prevention programming focuses on the critical relationships between the epidemiology of HIV infection, the risk behaviours that expose to HIV transmission, and also addresses the collective social and institutional factors, such as sexual norms, gender inequality, and HIV related stigma, that will otherwise continue to fuel HIV epidemic.
Risk behaviours are enmeshed in complex webs of economic, legal, political, cultural and psychosocial determinants that must be analyzed and addressed by policies that are also effectively implemented, and through scaled-up programming.
Comprehensive HIV prevention requires a combination of programmatic and policy actions that promote safer behaviours, reduce vulnerability to transmission, encourage use of key prevention technologies, promote social norms that favor risk reduction and address drivers of the epidemic.
Effective prevention efforts focus on measures that directly support risk reduction by providing information and skills as well as access to needed commodities (such as condoms, sterile injecting equipment, and drug substitution therapy) for the populations most in need. In short, national planners and policymakers must: 1) Know their epidemic; and 2) Set priorities accordingly.
Prevention and treatment must be scaled up in a balanced way, to capitalize fully on synergies between the two. Comprehensive HIV prevention requires a combination of programmatic interventions and policy actions that promote safer behaviours, reduce biological and social vulnerabilities to transmission, encourage use of key prevention technologies, and promote social norms that favour risk reduction.
HIV prevention includes addressing an array of issues discussed in other thematic areas in the policy section of the website. Forging links among HIV prevention with related programmes and services such as sexual and reproductive health services and legal services for women, can also contribute to intensification of HIV prevention. Strong linkages as well as special efforts to reach those at higher risk and excluded from access to services will result in more relevant and cost-effective programmes with greater impact.
Essential Policy Actions for HIV Prevention
- Ensure that human rights are promoted, protected and respected and that measures are taken to eliminate discrimination and combat stigma.
- Build and maintain leadership from all sections of society, including governments, affected communities, nongovernmental organizations, faith-based organizations, the education sector, media, the private sector and trade unions.
- Involve people living with HIV, in the design, implementation and evaluation of prevention strategies, addressing the distinct prevention needs.
- Address cultural norms and beliefs, recognizing both the key role they may play in supporting prevention efforts and the potential they have to fuel HIV transmission.
- Promote gender equality and address gender norms and relations to reduce the vulnerability of women and girls, involving men and boys in this effort.
- Promote widespread knowledge and awareness of how HIV is transmitted and how infection can be averted.
- Promote the links between HIV prevention and sexual and reproductive health.
- Support the mobilization of community-based responses throughout the continuum of prevention, care and treatment.
- Promote programmes targeted at HIV prevention needs of key affected groups and populations.
- Mobilizing and strengthening financial, and human and institutional capacity across all sectors, particularly in health and education.
- Review and reform legal frameworks to remove barriers to effective, evidence based HIV prevention, combat stigma and discrimination and protect the rights of people living with HIV or vulnerable or at risk to HIV.
- Ensure that sufficient investments are made in the research and development of, and advocacy for, new prevention technologies.
The latest from the GCWA
6 Jun, 2012|
Donor Brief: The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria
13 Apr, 2012|
Call for Letters of Intent on HIV paediatric antiretrovirals UNITAID is pleased to announce a call (the "Call") for Letters of Intent (LOI) on innovative approaches to improve access to paediatric antiretroviral medicines.
1 Mar, 2012|
HIV vertical transmission: Building women's meaningful participation in the scale-up of prevention of vertical transmission programmes
The AIDS Legal Network (ALN), South Africa, and the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS (GCWA), in partnership with a diversity of networks of women living with and affected by HIV, and women’s rights advocates from the sexual and reproductive health and rights movement, are pleased to share the briefing paper: Building women’s meaningful participation in the scale-up of prevention of vertical transmission programmes.pdf This paper emerges from the virtual consultation undertaken in late 2011, which sought to support the implementation of the Global Plan, with a particular foc
1 Mar, 2012|
Women's Meaningful Participation in the scale-up of Vertical Transmission Programmes
6 Feb, 2012|
To access the document, click here/Чтобы получить доступ к документу нажмите здесь: Harm Reduction Brief (2012) Russian.pdf
5 Jan, 2012|
Abstract submission deadline 2 weeks away: International HIV Treatment as Prevention Workshop - abstract subsmission deadline
The abstract submission deadline for the 2nd International HIV Treatment as Prevention Workshop is three weeks away. Please see below for links to the abstract system and other relevant information. SPECIAL NOTICE: The International AIDS Society would like to advise workshop participants that presentations of research findings at this workshop will not preclude their consideration for presentation at the 2012 International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC. If needed, please respond to this email for further clarification.
7 Dec, 2011|
West and Central Africa: a 12-year-old girl acquires HIV through a blood transfusion. Her parents isolate her inside the house, pushing food to her on a stick. A decade later she is denied admission to university on the basis of her HIV status. In this young woman’s words: “I won’t sleep until young women living with HIV are given a voice and a platform to speak.” Southern and East Africa: a girl child is raped and acquires HIV. In her teens she develops a fistula. Doctors tell her it’s normal for a young woman living with HIV.
30 Nov, 2011|
28 Nov, 2011|
The Global Coalition on Women and AIDS (GCWA), the International Network of Women who Use Drugs (INWUD), and the Women’s Harm Reduction International Network (WHRIN) are pleased to present a new issue brief regarding women who use drugs on HIV, harm reduction and sexual and reproductive health and rights.
19 Sep, 2011|
Vertical Transmission of HIV: Building women’s meaningful participation in the Global Plan for Elimination of HIV infection in Children and Keeping Mothers Alive
The Global Coalition on Women and AIDS is partnering with the AIDS Legal Network (ALN) to build women’s meaningful participation in the Global Plan for Elimination of HIV infection in Children and Keeping Mothers Alive. The virtual consultation will focus on the 22 priority countries identified in the Global Plan. As such, there will be particular emphasis placed on outreach within those countries, working in partnership with networks of women living with HIV and women’s rights and sexual and reproductive health and rights organizations.