HIV and AIDS are in retreat. Thanks to key interventions such behavior change communications, condoms, prevention of mother-to-child transmission, widespread circumcision campaigns and other preventive measures, new HIV infections have declined steadily over the last decade. In 2013, the world registered 2.3 million new HIV infections, a 33 percent decline from 2001 levels.

    The decline in number of new HIV infections is not only the result of increased prevention; it also correlates with an increase in the number of people accessing HIV treatment. Science has shown that putting an HIV-positive person on treatment reduces their chances of transmitting the virus by as much as 90 percent. The Global Fund and its partners around the world have worked to ensure that as many people as possible have access to treatment. As of end 2013, 6 million people were accessing antiretroviral (ARV) therapy through programs supported by the Global Fund.

    And while in some countries the number of people living with HIV is actually increasing, this can be taken as a good sign, as it means that those who are HIV-positive are accessing treatment and thus living longer.

    Data gathered over the course of the last decade has enabled the Global Fund and its partners to better understand the epidemiological situation of each country, and better understand exactly where infections are occurring, both geographically and in terms of key populations. This allows us to better target our investments to countries and/or populations where they will have the most impact.

    Key populations include any group which, because of stigma or discrimination, cannot access health care. In many cases it is these very same populations – women and girls, men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, migrant workers, prisoners, and others – who are disproportionately affected by AIDS, TB and malaria.

    The response to AIDS will only be successful if it ensures that these key populations are reached, and served. And the most effective way to reach these populations is through a human rights-based approach: ensuring that those reached are involved in designing and delivering services which will benefit them. Of course, this approach is relevant to all three diseases, but it is particularly so in the context of defeating AIDS. Put simply, “nothing about us without us”.

    The Global Fund’s funding model aims at targeting resources and health interventions towards these high-priority areas while improving on efficiency and impact. This new approach to funding will give the global community a great chance to turn the HIV pandemic from a global emergency to a chronic, manageable disease.