UNAIDS and World Bank address extreme poverty and AIDS

March 4, 2014

The HIV epidemic continues to undermine efforts to reduce poverty and marginalization. This January, UNAIDS and the World Bank have committed to work closely with international partners, to address the social and structural drivers that put people at greater risk of HIV and deny them access to services.

"Ending the AIDS epidemic and extreme poverty is within our power," said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director, UNAIDS. "Our combined efforts will contribute to a global movement working to ensure that every person can realize their right to quality healthcare and live free from poverty and discrimination."

"Just as money alone is insufficient to end poverty, science is powerless to defeat AIDS unless we tackle the underlying social and structural factors," said JimYong Kim, President of the World Bank Group. "To end both AIDS and poverty, we need sustained political will, social activism, and an unwavering commitment to equity and social justice."

Four action points have been developed

  • Aligning health and development efforts around country-led time-bound goals towards ending extreme poverty and AIDS, with special attention to the inclusion of the poorest and most marginalized populations. Areas of focus will include: supporting countries to adopt progressive legal systems that remove discriminatory laws, especially among populations most vulnerable to HIV infection; increasing access to income, adequate housing and safe working conditions; and accelerating reforms towards universal health coverage and universal access to HIV services and commodities.
  • Urging the post-2015 development agenda to include targets towards ending AIDS alongside the goal of universal health coverage, so that no one falls into poverty or is kept in poverty due to payment for AIDS treatment or health care.
  • Promoting national and global monitoring and implementation research. Actions will include: working closely with global partners and countries to innovate and monitor service delivery, including for HIV, especially to the poorest and the most marginalized; and intensify implementation research to capture and codify innovative approaches to address the linkages between efforts toward sending extreme poverty and ending AIDS. As part of this effort, the World Bank Group will launch a major new trial to better understand how social protection systems reduce HIV infection, particularly among young women in the highest burden hyper-endemic countries.
  • Convening two high-level meetings in 2014 with national policy leaders and experts on ending AIDS and extreme poverty. The first meeting will be convened in Southern Africa to share current research and discuss how it can be translated into practice. The second meeting will be held during the International AIDS Conference in July 2014 in Melbourne.

UNAIDS and the World Bank Group will work to ensure that these efforts feature prominently in the post-2015 global development agenda, and are integral elements in ending AIDS, achieving universal health coverage, ending extreme poverty and inequality and building shared prosperity. 

More information can be found on the UNAIDS website. 

This article has been published in the STOP AIDS NOW! E-news “Income for Prevention” (March 2014)