A few days ago, UNAIDS, PAHO and the HTCG convened a group of representatives from governments, civil society and other organizations related to the HIV response in Latin America to meet in Panama to discuss combination prevention in 2020 and 2030.
UNAIDS has developed a strategy known as Fast Track and, which seeks to fulfill the 90-90-90 challenges. This strategy also seeks to reduce the rate of new infections to 500 thousand per year.
Working hard over the next few years could make a big difference between successful, maintenance, stabilization or failure.
In theory, if 90% of people with HIV are in treatment and show viral suppression, and have access to all means to prevent transmission, the possibility of infection among people will be virtually zero. This could be reached by using a package of prevention, which is nothing more than a strategy combining “information, communication, education, HIV diagnosis, condoms, lubricants, disposable needles and the inclusion of Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)”.
“Even when it is not part of the “preventive package”, all the work on the improvement of the context of the populations at higher risk and changes in the structural constraints are fundamental. If, for example, a trans person or a sex worker is threatened by the security forces, by gangs and mafias that extort them and violate their rights, this is an unfavorable context”, said Elena Reynaga, representative of Redtrasex.
The meeting addressed issues such as working together to achieve ambitious goals, the lack of consensus on PrEP, who will fund these goals, new technologies, among others.
Latin America is one of the regions with higher coverage goals. However, it is still a region with large gaps. Peru, for example, during the presentation of the national consultation on prevention, announced that only 35% of diagnosed people have access to antiretroviral drugs. In the same way, the civil society of Central America presented data on access to condoms, based on the results of projects financed by the Global Fund, where some key populations receive less than one condom per month and others only a condom per week.
One of the most discussed issues was about the financing of these strategies. The meeting also reflected on the phenomenon of the systematic exit of the funders in the region, for example, PEPFAR and the Global Fund. In this sense, the achievement of the targets of prevention and treatment will be only possible with an increase in the financial contribution of our countries.
Similarly, some experiences were also on the shared use of technology for prevention, as a way to overcome the limitations that have programs and organizations to reach out marginalized populations, as well as the change in the paradigm of communication and information.