In the past 10 years there have been some encouraging results where HIV/AIDS is concerned. Nevertheless, although by 2009 the epidemic stabilized globally, infection rates in some countries are still on the increase. We still face major challenges, particularly in the areas of prevention and the protection of human rights. Homophobia, punitive legislation and sexist violence are increasingly undermining the efforts made to improve the access of key population groups to HIV-related services.
Switzerland is making an active contribution to worldwide efforts to combat HIV/AIDS by supporting specialized international organizations such as the WHO, UNAIDS and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, as well as and international and regional organizations, federations and networks. In its bilateral relations, Switzerland is concentrating on prevention, particularly in the context of sexual and reproductive health programmes, and on improving access to care services, support and treatment without discrimination. The HIV/AIDS component is included in development aid programmes using a transversal approach: for example, each bilateral programme conducted in a region where HIV is endemic considers the role of persons infected with HIV in regard to the development programme and its impact on them, and vice versa.
The SDC also supports some activities undertaken by Swiss NGOs involved internationally in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and encourages them to network and coordinate their efforts within Switzerland. The SDC also cooperates with the private sector, universities and academics.
Since its discovery in the early 1980s, HIV has been responsible for more than 25 million deaths. There has been a massive international response. The resources devoted to combating AIDS increased from USD 1.6 billion in 2001 to USD 15.9 billion in 2009, with remarkable results. For one, there has been a 19% decrease in the number of new cases of infection over the last 10 years, and for another, access to anti-viral treatments has improved in low-income countries while, the cost of such treatments has fallen. Nonetheless, progress remains fragile and unevenly spread. It is essential that we be more innovative in our partnerships and provision of funding. We all have to assume our responsibilities, at different levels.