Stepping up the pace

2020 is a critical year for our world, young people and the HIV and AIDS response.

World leaders, after consulting millions of people around the world and leading months of negotiations, have adopted the Sustainable Development Goals to address poverty and achieve sustainable development. These will define development until 2030 and shape the lives and experiences of our generation. One of the targets includes, ‘By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases’.

If the global community reaches the 2020 interim goals, 18 million new HIV infections and 11 million AIDS related deaths will be prevented. UNAIDS estimates that to meet the SDG target, we must fill a funding gap of $7 billion annually, by 2020. This would represent a 1/3 increase in funding for the HIV response but would be enough to double number of people accessing prevention and treatment services.


At the same time, we have reached a moment where today’s generation of young people is the largest in history. In fact, the number of young people in the world is starting to peak. Now is the time to unleash the power of young people to end poverty and ensure all have healthy lives. Without young people at the heart of development, the world won’t make progress.

Incredible progress has been made in the HIV response. Fifteen years ago, less than 200,000 people were accessing treatment and the epidemic was growing fast. Today, we have 19.5 million people accessing treatment – but we’re still only halfway there. 17.2 million people are still not accessing treatment. The AIDS response has produce astonishing results, but there is a wide gap between our achievements and our goal to end AIDS by 2030. Therefore, we find ourselves at a pivotal moment;

We have a fragile 5 year window to ensure that the world is on track to end the AIDS epidemic. Seizing this opportunity to fast track the response to HIV will save millions of lives – and the costs of not doing so are unthinkable” UNAIDS Executive Director, 2015

That’s where Youth Stop AIDS comes in; we need to make sure that the efforts of governments and institutions go beyond ‘business as usual.

Number of deaths each day from AIDS-related illnesses

“Chances like this are rare. The global response to AIDS has defined our generation – and to see that through to completion would be one of the greatest achievements of humanity. But we must act now, or we’ll find the AIDS and TB epidemics accelerate away from us again’’ Diarmaid McDonald, STOPAIDS