An Enlightening Conference: Visit to UNAIDS New York Office

 Written by Nicole Cheng, TDN Youth Affairs Coordinator. April 17,2015

On April 9th, 2015, the day before National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, I visited the UNAIDS New York Liaison Office as part of TDN initiative Tour to Health. I was able to interact with some of their professionals leading the Fast-Track Strategy to End the AIDS Epidemic by 2030 such as Ninan Varughese, UNAIDS New York Senior Adviser. I was also given the privilege of discussing this pressing issue with Angela Trenton-Mbonde, the New York Liaison Senior Adviser at UNAIDS.

While I had already done my research and whatnot about the issue of HIV/AIDS, Angela opened up my eyes to the problems that exist below the surface that people often barely glaze over. There are so many components to HIV/AIDS that are not commonly known, which further proves the importance of awareness and knowledge. We conferred about the differences that arise between HIV/AIDS locally, as well as internationally. For example, at the local level, awareness is all about peers and family dealing with the matter without certain communities. However, this confines us to looking at the problem of HIV/AIDS that are within our reach. Thus, it is necessary to for us to think of the bigger picture – the larger scope that is what will define our 2030 AIDS-free generation.

I was informed about current projects being done to improve the dilemma like the 90-90-90 treatment target. At the global level, stakeholders assembled in a variety of thematic consultations focused on civil society, laboratory medicine, pediatric HIV treatment, adolescents and other key issues. Powerful momentum is now building towards a new narrative on HIV treatment and a new, final, ambitious, but achievable target:

  • By 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status.
  • By 2020, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy.
  • By 2020, 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.

I found out also that things such as sociology, culture, psychology, religion, finances, trauma, and environment are all significant factors that have shown correlations in the topic of HIV/AIDS. I hope that the future leaders of the world, like me, will realize the facts and that it must change. UNAIDS and TDN have incredible insight into the world of HIV/AIDS, and now all that needs to be done is implement the magnificent techniques and methods that they have created on the matter.

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