UNAIDS High-Level Commission on HIV Prevention

In collaboration with the United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the Global Health Program at CFR helped create the UNAIDS High Level Commission on HIV Prevention. The commission was supported by a Scientific Advisory Panel chaired by Laurie Garrett, which provided intellectual leadership and scientific backing. The goal of the commission and scientific advisory panel was to advance the "prevention revolution" called for by UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé, and provide a road map for generating the necessary political will at the highest levels to overcome the cultural, gender, and resource barriers to reaching zero new HIV infections.

The call for a "prevention revolution" comes amid three major changes that have occurred in the last year in the HIV pandemic: (1) the global financial crisis has slowed the rate of growth in support of HIV treatment costs for poor countries, raising concern that continued expansion of the global epidemic will outstrip donor support of treatment; (2) changes in U.S. foreign assistance programs have placed greater emphasis on disease prevention and program accountability; (3) two dramatic research breakthroughs have demonstrated that it is possible to slow the spread of HIV sexually through use of a new formulation of vaginal microbicides, and through daily oral dosing with anti-HIV drugs. Combined, these changes mean that preventing further expansion of the global pandemic is imperative, and it is possible.

For ten months the scientific panel, chaired by Laurie Garrett, analyzed evidence for new strategies to control HIV, presenting the Commission with the Declaration and Statement for its approval. Commission cochairs--both Nobel laureates--Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Rev. Desmond Tutu, will now lead the commissioners on a global HIV prevention campaign.

The declaration and statement below, written by Laurie Garrett and the Scientific Advisory Panel, were released on December 1, 2010, World AIDS Day, and call on world leaders to act swiftly and accelerate the decline in new HIV infections and spark the prevention revolution.

UNAIDS High-Level Commission on HIV Prevention Fellows