Why the EU should take the lead on ending AIDS

The European Union (EU) is the world’s largest source of official development assistance and one of the main contributors to the global HIV response. The EU has also placed the promotion of human rights at the centre of its foreign policy.

But the EU currently has no plan of action on HIV, malaria and tuberculosis.

Click here to take action and ask the European Union to take the lead on ending AIDS

You can find out more in our briefing European Union: honouring commitments on HIV and human rights?

The end of AIDS is now possible; we call on the EU to seize the opportunity and take the lead in providing a human rights-based response to end AIDS within a generation.


A clinical trial recently proved that if people living with HIV receive anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment early enough, it can prevent the spread of the virus to their partner. It’s up to 96% effective.

Recent modelling led by UNAIDS shows that by investing strategically it is possible to prevent 12.2 million new infections and 7.4 deaths by 2020 to start bringing an end to AIDS.


In order to end AIDS, HIV interventions must be human rights-based, focused on those at higher risk, and mobilise affected communities. Read more in our report Making HIV Funding Work.

The EU provided leadership and negotiated hard for the Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS at the UN High Level Meeting on AIDS in June 2011 which reaffirms the “full realisation of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all is an essential element in the global response to HIV”.


By signing the Political Declaration, the EU and its member states committed to “achieve, by 2015, universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.”

But the Global Fund to Fight AIDs, Tuberculosis and Malaria (The Global Fund), a vital mechanism to provide human-rights based responses to HIV worldwide is severely underfunded. Read more in the International HIV/AIDS Alliance’s report Don’t stop now: how underfunding the Global Fund impacts on the HIV response.

The EU and its member states have provided over 52% of the Global Fund budget between 2002 and 2010. Now, some member states are not complying with their pledges.


There is currently no EU plan of action on HIV and AIDS. Not even a Global Health strategy where this plan could sit.

The EU must play its part in “creating an AIDS-free generation” and make this clear in its planning and financial mechanisms.

Call on the EU to:

1) Develop a renewed plan on Global Health and on HIV and AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis in the EU External Action that underscores the importance of a human rights-based response to HIV and makes clear steps towards helping to end AIDS

2) Provide leadership by allocating additional support to meet the urgent funding needs of Global Fund before the International AIDS Conference in July 2012; and call on member states to live up to their pledges to contribute to the Global Fund to Fight HIV, TB and Malaria.

3) Strengthen human rights based financing mechanisms for communities who are at higher risk of HIV infection in those countries that the Global Fund will no longer be funding, such as those in middle income countries.

4) Include concrete measures in the renewed plans on HIV and AIDS to increase policy coherence across the EU’s trade, external action and development and human rights policies, ensuring that its trade agreements do not undermine the rights of people living with HIV and others to access affordable essential medicines.

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