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As we prepare for next week's International AIDS conference in Toronto, it is a natural time to reflect on progress made and lessons learned in the fight against AIDS. To that end, there is an interesting article at Worldpress.org that asks an experienced development specialist and a veteran AIDS reporter to share their thoughts on lessons learned from the fight against AIDS in Africa.
These contributors make two insights that are worth highlighting, repeatedly if necessary, until the situation changes. First, "families and communities battling AIDS in Africa barely receive support from current domestic and international relief efforts." Second, "domestic and international HIVAIDS remedial efforts continue to ignore indigenous community-based organizations and civil society in Africa."
There are many reasons for these problems -- bureaucracy, entrenched interests, communication problems, lack of capacity, the difficulty of reaching remote areas, and much more -- but we will never win the battle against HIV/AIDS until we address these obstacles. With AIDS money now pouring into developing countries, I can only hope that the attendees of the Toronto conference walk away with a clear sense that it is now truly "time to deliver" resources and services to the communities where people affected by HIV actually live.
CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.