Getting to an AIDS-Free Generation: Three Steps for Overcoming Remaining Challenges

Getting to an AIDS-Free Generation: Three Steps for Overcoming Remaining Challenges

 {Photo credit: Brigid Boettler/MSH}MSH commemorated World AIDS Day with a special panel event on Capitol Hill on December 2, 2013.Photo credit: Brigid Boettler/MSH

To commemorate World AIDS Day, Management Sciences for Health (MSH) recently teamed up with Save the Children and ONE in conjunction with the Office of Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) to co-host an event on Capitol Hill entitled Getting to an AIDS-Free Generation: Overcoming Remaining Challenges.

Reflecting on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2011 call to action for pursing an AIDS-free generation, panelists from Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), Center for Global Development (CGD), Save the Children, ONE, and MSH came together to highlight challenges and propose solutions for achieving this ambitious goal. The panelists presented recent research and best practices on a range of issues, including expanding pediatric care beyond prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT); getting more health impact for the money; learning from the African countries that have already reached the “tipping point” against AIDS; the need for increasing the focus on health systems strengthening; and more. Some of the key takeaways included:

1. Don't Forget Infected Children

Currently, the fight against pediatric AIDS is focused primarily on the expansion of PMTCT with little attention paid to infected children or youth missed by current programming. MSH’s Scott Kellerman, MD and CHAI’s Nandita Sugandhi, MD explained how this strategy places a whole generation of children at risk “who despite our best efforts are left out of existing efforts and continue to become infected.” See here for their recommendations on addressing and improving the continuum of care for HIV-affected children. 

2. Get More Health for the Money

With aid budgets leveling off or declining, donors face a moral imperative to maximize the health impact of every dollar they invest in global health. According to CGD Research Fellow Victoria Fan, opportunities exist for donors to save more lives with existing resources by generating better "value for money" in four common domains: allocation, contracts, costs and spending, and verification. While these may seem abstract, they directly affect the availability and quality of services provided to people at-risk or suffering from disease. Sound too good to be true? Read the report Fan recently co-authored to learn what changes would save hundreds of millions of dollars which could be reprogrammed to save even more lives. 

3. Build on Existing Successes

ONE’s Global Health Policy Director Erin Hohlfelder inspired the audience with her resounding statement: It’s time to retire the phrase “AIDS in Africa.” Sixteen African countries have already surpassed the “tipping point,” where the number of new HIV cases diagnosed in a given year is less than the number of new patients who seek treatment. According to the new ONE report, some of the factors that contributed to achieving this milestone include sustained donor aid, strong national AIDS plans matched with political will, increased rates of domestic African funding dedicated to health, and high-level commitment to tackling stigma. Building on the lessons learned from the 16 “tipping point” countries could help other African nations make similar strides.

Read more about MSH’s global commemoration of World AIDS Day and getting to an AIDS-free generation.

MSH advocates for increased US and international resources for global health, advancing sound, evidence-based health policy decisions globally, sharing our experiences and best practices from the field, and increasing the health focus of coalitions and international groups concerned with broader development issues. Read more