By Lily Kovacs, Youth Stop AIDS Sussex Group Leader, 11th October 2019

Yesterday was a landmark moment for Global Health. The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria secured the highest amount ever raised by a multilateral health organisation with an unprecedented US$14 billion for the next three years.

In 2002, the Global Fund was established with the aim of enlarging existing prevention and treatment programmes for HIV and AIDS through financial support in low and middle-income countries. Almost 18 years, and a combined US$45.8 billion later, they called for a further US$14 billion to be raised at this year’s replenishment conference, in order to get back on track for the ultimate goal of no new cases of HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria by 2030. 

Meeting this target would help to save 16 million lives over the next three years, averting 234 million new cases of the diseases and renewing the commitment through a global movement. A movement against epidemics that do not discriminate, but through which discrimination has spread. 

Young people in particular, account for 510 000 new HIV acquisitions each year. Young women between the ages of 15-24, make up almost 61%.

Yet it is also these groups that have shown remarkable resilience in the face of the epidemic, campaigning to urge their governments to match their commitment to the cause. Earlier this year, Youth Stop AIDS, joined by other civil society organisations, called on the UK government to increase their contribution to the Global Fund to £1.4 billion, which alone would help save 2 million lives. Actions such as the Youth Stop AIDS Speaker Tour – a week dedicated to bringing inspirational stories of perseverance from young people living with HIV to locations across the UK – and Day of Action – an MP drop in event aimed at putting pressure on the Department for International Development – helped spread the word and led the government to step up its efforts. 

This exemplary leadership was matched by pledges from other world leaders and private sector donors at the Sixth Replenishment Conference in Lyon, France, resulting in the accumulation of a combined US$14.02 billion for the Global Fund. A win like this means funding for improved health care systems with better trained workers and diagnostic tools amongst others, while also tackling health inequalities and the likes of gender and human rights-related barriers to access. 

Perhaps most significantly, however, reaching the target goal represents a renewed commitment to ending the three epidemics, a resumption of the incredible progress which has been made since 2002. It demonstrates that civil effort, particularly the youth activism which has long proven to be on the vanguard of social change, is perhaps the most effective tool in ensuring that progress is continued. 

For more information on the Global Fund replenishment outcome, check out STOPAIDS’ Statement.