Eight-Point Strategy to Stop the Spread of HIV/AIDS

There are eight critical elements in a strategy that will make great strides in stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa:

  1. Leadership at the highest political level: Top political leadership is needed to mobilize an effective, strategic, multisectoral response.
  2. A fundamental change in gender relations: Both men and women must be at the forefront of change, responsibility and leadership if this plague is to be stopped.
  3. Breaking the silence: People must overcome the denial and avoidance of discussing HIV/AIDS. They must be called upon to have the courage to confront this epidemic and overcome social taboos. People must also be equipped with powerful and accurate information on the causes of HIV/AIDS and how to protect themselves and others.
  4. Overcoming the stigma: People living with HIV/AIDS need to live in an environment of understanding and acceptance. They need to know that they are valued, respected and contributing members of society.
  5. Community and religious leaders: Community leaders who are paving the way in confronting AIDS must be supported. Religious leaders must use their exalted position to let people know that speaking about sexual issues is not only morally acceptable, but also fundamental to responsible living.
  6. Widespread provision of services: People must have access to vital services, including condom supply and distribution, voluntary HIV counseling and testing, support groups and blood safety programs.

  7. Health-related strategies and care services: There is an immediate need to invest in health strategies and rural health-delivery systems for both prevention and care. This must include basic health needs — such as clean water, nutritious food and sanitation — and access to opportunist-infection medication and antiretroviral drugs.
  8. International solidarity and partnership: International support and the mobilization of resources is urgently needed to fight the epidemic. Commitments need to be translated into action and more resources invested.