As we commemorate World AIDS Day 2019, we are reminded that despite some remarkable progress, the number of people becoming newly infected with HIV and dying from AIDS-related illnesses is not decreasing fast enough. We are reminded that despite this progress, there remains tremendous unmet needs. Resources for the AIDS response must be sustained. We are reminded that 38 million women, men and children are living with HIV today. We are reminded that despite global efforts, AIDS continues to be one of the greatest health and development threats of our time.
The response to HIV united the world in a way that no other health crisis has. It taught us that we must listen to and learn from the people affected, from the people most at risk. AIDS has taught us that we must address critical linkages―between health, injustice, inequality, poverty and marginalization. AIDS has also taught us that the challenge of ending an epidemic is far too great for any one sector to tackle alone.
Governments, nongovernmental organizations, civil society, communities and businesses each possess important, unique and complementary resources and capabilities to make a difference to the global AIDS response. When different sectors succeed in combining those assets, the impact increases significantly.
Business has been and continues to be integral to the AIDS response, from challenging the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS, building vital collaborations with companies across industries, conducting treatment, diagnosis and prevention programs within workplaces and the surrounding communities, and more.
In every region of the world, today’s most successful businesses are an integral part of the societies around them. Businesses are recognizing that the well-being of their workforce and their partners, and of the communities they operate in and serve, are essential to their shared futures.
Ending the AIDS epidemic and leaving no one behind in the AIDS response will profoundly affect the lives of millions of people around the world, for generations to come, and businesses can make the difference. This is why we, as business leaders, are determined to play our part. We want to renew our commitment to ending AIDS.
We are urging businesses to engage in whatever way they can, by providing workplace HIV services to workers, dependents and communities, by offering skills, expertise and institutional resources, by partnering with the public sector and local nongovernmental organizations and community groups and by advocating at all levels to support people living with and affected by HIV. Business leadership on HIV has the potential to make a difference from the grass-roots level right up to the highest levels of global decision-making.
The future will be determined by what we do today. Guided by UNAIDS’ vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths, and working together with GBCHealth, we can make the difference, and together we can end AIDS by 2030.