Reintroducing the Global AIDS Policy Partnership

If you’ve been a part of the Global AIDS Policy Partnership (GAPP) for a while, or worked with it, you might have noticed that we are doing some things a little differently lately. And if you are just now getting to know us, it might be because we’ve been a little “noisier” of late. That is by design.

A few months back, we launched this website, as well as a Twitter account (speaking of which, are you following @GAPPDC?). Neither of those existed before because GAPP has operated somewhat behind-the-scenes. And that often worked well. But the world has changed. The funding environment, because of COVID-19 and other demands, is more constrained. And resources for HIV/AIDS are shrinking. But the needs have become greater, and the 2030 deadline to end HIV/AIDS as a public health threat is fast approaching. It’s time for the GAPP to be a bit louder.

First, though, we thought it might be useful to reintroduce ourselves.

GAPP is a diverse coalition of organizations, including advocacy, civil society, and faith-based groups, implementers, philanthropies, and NGOs. Since 2012, we have served as a conduit for information between U.S. global HIV/AIDS decision makers and partners in the communities served by PEPFAR and the Global Fund. We also provide a platform for advocacy and implementing organizations to share their expertise and ideas for advancing the global AIDS response.

After a decade of advocacy, the work of the GAPP remains as urgent and critical as ever.

Even before COVID-19, global HIV prevention goals were unacceptably off-target. According to the most recent report from UNAIDS, of the 38 million people living with HIV, 10 million lack access to the medicines they need to live health lives. Prevention also remains a key challenge and unmet target, with 1.5 million new HIV infections in 2020 alone.

HIV and AIDS funding has stagnated in recent years. A 2020 report from the Kaiser Family Foundation and UNAIDS showed that donor governments decreased contributions to fight HIV/AIDS by $200 million between 2018 and 2019. Private funding is also contracting. In its most recent report, Funders Concerned About AIDS indicated that philanthropic resources for HIV/AIDS have remained relatively flat and that the number of funders is shrinking. A 2020 increase was driven almost entirely by a single payment from one funder, disguising what would have otherwise been an overall decrease in HIV-related philanthropy.  

Now, progress has been further derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic insecurity, unstable resources, and disruption of environments that are supportive for HIV services. Without immediate and aggressive action, the world will face an escalation in new HIV infections and negative consequences for people living HIV and for people at risk. In addition, the global response will see squandered the resources that have been dedicated to fighting HIV/AIDS over the past four decades. 

GAPP members are working to make the ambitious new UNAIDS strategy and targets a reality. We are preparing for the Global Fund’s 7th Replenishment effort in 2022, and the reauthorization of PEPFAR in 2023. And we are finding new ways to work with partners in areas that intersect with HIV/AIDS such as health systems strengthening, sexual and reproductive health, and human rights.

At this critical juncture, the global HIV and AIDS response needs additional, substantial advocacy to capitalize on the gains made to date and to address the complex challenges that remain. If your organization is active in this space – or intersects with it – we want to work with you! There are many ways to do that: connect with us to determine if becoming a GAPP member is appropriate, amplify our messages, collaborate with us to create content or host an event, engage with us on social media. HIV is far from over. But, working together, we can ensure that one day it will be.