The year 2020 held major significance in the global HIV response. It was the end year for the 10 Fast-Track targets set in the 2016 Political Declaration on Ending AIDS. It was also the year in which the COVID-19 pandemic changed the world.

In the four decades since the first cases of AIDS were reported, dozens of countries have reached or exceeded the global targets, demonstrating that they are achievable. However, within regions and countries, the progress has been uneven. While some of the most affected countries and regions in sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean have made the most progress, growing epidemics in parts of Latin America, eastern Europe and central Asia, and the Middle East and North Africa are behind those gains. These mixed outcomes are attributable to inadequate investment, disparate responses, and limited efforts to remove barriers such as stigma and discrimination and punitive legal environments.

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted economic and social development, stretched national health and social protection capacities, exacerbated pre-existing vulnerabilities, and inflicted a setback to the global HIV response. However, the pandemic has also demonstrated the resilience of existing systems and created opportunities to strengthen the response to both COVID-19 and HIV and build back better for the HIV one.

Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, the Joint Programme has remained a central catalytic force within the HIV response and a strong, competent partner driving an inclusive, people-centred and multisectoral response to the new pandemic. The Joint Programme has leveraged global leadership and social mobilization, maintained a strong field presence, pursued strategic and inclusive partnerships, leveraged strategic information, and has integrated evidence- informed policy guidance and specialized expertise across its 11 Cosponsors and the Secretariat. As a multisectoral and innovative partnership, operating in the context of the integrated SDG agenda, the Joint Programme has provided leadership, advocacy, normative guidance, technical support, coordination, and accountability towards an effective response to the intersecting pandemics at global, regional and country levels.

Supporting countries and communities in protecting people living with, affected by and vulnerable to HIV from the adverse impact of the intersecting pandemics remained the Joint Programme’s central focus in 2020. The Joint Programme strived to address gaps and achieve breakthroughs by concentrating on protecting and savings lives, reaching and including the most vulnerable, most excluded and furthest behind; focusing on areas where progress has been too slow, and devoting greater attention to social and structural determinants.


                                                 

 


The Joint Programme led the development of a new evidence-informed Global AIDS Strategy 2021–2026 End Inequalities End AIDS adopted by the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board (PCB) in March 2021. The Strategy follows a people-centred approach recognizing that inequalities continue to drive new HIV infections and limit access to life-saving HIV services. It was developed through an inclusive consultative process involving over 10 000 stakeholders around the world and brings together the global community to set the direction for the next phase of the response.

The Global AIDS Strategy includes the 2025 targets that are situated within the broader global health and development agenda. The Strategy introduces new 95–95–95 targets for all sub-populations and age groups for 2025. It deepens the focus on women and children and all populations at risk of HIV and introduces 10–10–10 targets that seek to remove societal and legal barriers that stand in the way of an enabling environment for HIV services. The Joint Programme is committed and will support countries and communities in delivering on the commitments and targets of the Global AIDS Strategy.