The 2016 United Nations Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS should have been a critical milestone. It was the opportunity for governments to elaborate how they intended to meet the ambitious target of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 that they committed to as part of the Sustainable Development Goals just last year.
In order to achieve this goal, governments should have agreed to a Political Declaration that encompassed ambitious treatment, prevention, care and support and financing targets and recognized the central role of communities in the HIV response, while also advancing the human rights and fundamental freedoms of people living with and affected by HIV. Some of those goals were achieved. However, the Declaration failed to explicitly recognize the human rights and fundamental freedoms of key populations affected by HIV—sex workers, people who use drugs, prisoners, gay men and other men who have sex with men, and transgender persons—and the strategies that most effectively meet their needs.
This joint analysis was prepared to reflect on both the progress and shortfalls in the political declaration; the challenges posed by a hostile group of countries towards the participation of civil society and meaningful advancements on the human rights of key populations; and the steps that we, as a community, must take to ensure accountability for the implementation of this declaration and other key actions that must be taken to make progress.