As we move deeper into the fourth decade of the global HIV epidemic, it is important to reflect in a meaningful way on where we have come, and, equally important, on where we are going. Over the past 34 years, we have witnessed the terrible human tragedy of a global epidemic out of control, fueled by horrible social inequalities and unconscionable irresponsibility on the part of so many governments and officials.
Yet we have also witnessed a most remarkable process of global mobilization, first on the part of affected communities and activists, and then gradually on the part of local and national governments and intergovernmental organizations.
Especially during the past decade, we have passed through a time of unprecedented scale-up of the global response to AIDS. But we have also seen scale-up stall in many parts of the world, impeded by an extended global financial crisis as well as by a so-called “AIDS backlash” in some sectors of the global public health and development fields, which have criticized the level of resources that have been committed to the fight against the HIV epidemic.