UNAIDS, Lancet Commission meet on future of AIDS

The Joint U.N. Programme on HIV/AIDS and the Lancet Commission met on Thursday in London to discuss the future of AIDS and global health in the post-2015 era, according to UNAIDS.

The commission brings together more than 40 heads of state and political leaders, HIV and health experts, activists, scientists, private sector representatives and young people to make sure that lessons learned in the AIDS response can be applied to change how countries and partners approach health and development. The commission and UNAIDS, a coalition that unites the efforts of 11 U.N. organizations in the AIDS response, will publish their recommendations in The Lancet later in 2014.

"The fight against AIDS is not over yet," John Dramani Mahama, the president of the Republic of Ghana, said. "We need to intensify efforts to achieve a historic victory against this disease. Everyone has a key role to play in achieving this objective. We have to take action to ensure that we are doing the best possible for our countries, for our people and for humanity."

The commission was convened by Michel Sidibé, the executive director of UNAIDS, and Richard Horton, the editor-in-chief of The Lancet, in early 2013. Co-chairs include Peter Piot, the director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the African Union Commission chairperson, and Joyce Banda, the president of Malawi.

"This commission bears an historic role, based on accumulated knowledge and technologies, to find new approaches and to redouble its efforts in defeating HIV as regards the next generation," Akie Abe, the first lady of Japan, said. "We must proceed while leaving no one behind. We must apply the achievements of the AIDS response to other areas for realizing better health."

Dialogues have been held across regions to bring together diverse perspectives to inform discussions during the commission's London meeting. Recommendations related to providing a framework for addressing AIDS and health in the post-2015 development agenda will be compiled in the comprehensive report.