2015 represented the culmination of an era. Fifteen years before, the world had come
together to agree on a path to address extreme poverty in all its multidimensional facets
– the result was the Millennium Development Goals. Among the eight goals, “combating
HIV, malaria, and other diseases,” guided the work we did. In 2015, it was time to apply
our collective lessons learned, based on our shared vision and joint energies, to negotiate
and fight for the AIDS response to be part of the ‘Post-2015’ world.
The process to develop and agree on the Sustainable Development Goals reaffirmed
that the diversity of today’s HIV epidemics demands diverse, rights-based and gendertransformative
responses, as well as a commitment to evidence-based policies and
As we entered 2016, the year when a new Political Declaration on AIDS was to be
agreed on, and when the International AIDS Conference was set to return to South Africa
after more than a decade, the time had also come to recommit to taking real steps to
end AIDS. Human rights, gender equality, treatment for all, combination prevention, and
increased financing must anchor AIDS responses, and therefore our advocacy. The time
has come to re-politicize and reposition AIDS as a question of social justice.
Within this new development framework – and within constraints of decreasing funding
for the AIDS response overall – and especially for community responses and recognizing
that democratic spaces for policy dialogue have shrunk, ICASO has strived to support
community advocates to document and advocate for addressing the significant gaps
that remain in the response – for people, for strategies, for regions. This has been our
journey for more than 25 years now, and our commitment holds: until we end AIDS.
We cannot end AIDS by ourselves, not introspectively, not within our silos, and not within
our movements. We absolutely cannot leave anybody outside or behind in our efforts.
Ending AIDS requires bold thinking, brave efforts, transformative approaches and overall,
trust among ourselves.
Together we can end AIDS
Mary Ann Torres, Executive Director