• Fighting AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

    In 2000, AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria together killed approximately 6 million people a year. The devastation to families, societies and economies caused by these three pandemics was considered to be a global emergency. And global leaders responded by creating, in 2002, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

    Little more than a decade later, we are starting to have an impact on the three diseases. Through Global Fund-supported programs, more than 6 million people are receiving lifesaving antiretroviral (ARV) therapy as of the end of 2013. Diagnosis and treatment for TB has reached 11.2 million people, and 360 million insecticide-treated nets have been distributed to families to protect them from malaria. Thanks to these programs, and the efforts of all our partners, total mortality from AIDS, TB and malaria has decreased by 40 percent since 2000.

    This significant progress is due to a number of factors. In the last ten years, new techniques and treatments have been introduced, such as artemisinin-based combinations therapies, or ACTs, to combat malaria and circumcision as a method of preventing the spread of HIV. Scientific innovations such as rapid diagnostic kits and improved testing for multidrug-resistant TB are enabling countries to respond. Most importantly, countries are learning from experience and applying those lessons in order to improve and scale-up cost-effective and impactful programs.

    However, much remains to be done. Only one out of every two people living with HIV knows their status. TB - in particular multidrug-resistant forms of the disease - is on the rise in certain regions of the world. Of the nine million people who develop TB each year, fully one-third are not reached with diagnostic and treatment services. And scientists have noted an alarming increase in resistance to artemisin, the key ingredient in treating malaria.

    AIDS, TB and malaria are still with us. And they are still a global public health threat. We have the tools, we have the knowledge, but we must not let efforts to fight these diseases slow. The world is at a tipping point: if we do not defeat the diseases now, the risk is that they will resurge in new and more powerful forms which we will not have the tools to fight. We must be the generation to defeat AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.