November 30, 2021
World AIDS Day was founded in 1988 as the first global health day. Today, the connections between HIV and global health, particularly global health equity, are clearer than ever.
The successes of the global response to COVID were built largely on knowledge and networks created by AIDS research and advocacy. The failure to achieve anything approaching equity in the COVID response offers critical lessons for HIV, and for future pandemic preparedness and response.
Perhaps more than any previous World AIDS Day, this December 1 is about looking forward – to how the movement to end the AIDS pandemic can become a cornerstone of efforts to achieve a healthier and more equitable world. In that spirit, I am excited to share two important documents that will help guide AVAC into the future, and that many of you contributed to creating: our new Strategic Plan 2022-2026 and our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Commitment.
These new roadmaps are the result of the most ambitious and inclusive planning process in AVAC’s 26-year history. Together, they will help direct our ongoing efforts to anticipate and respond to new complexities in HIV prevention, operationalize our commitment to social justice and global health equity, build more effective, mutually productive relationships with partners and increase the impact, responsiveness and sustainability of our work.
The Strategic Plan and EDI commitment were undertaken at a key point of inflection and opportunity for AVAC, and the field. HIV prevention research is accelerating, but targets are still being missed. COVID is speeding science, but significant gaps in access highlight the need for much smarter pandemic preparedness. And a global movement for social justice is demanding that we all reexamine critical questions of equity, including health equity.
Creating these plans has been a painstaking, but also enlightening and rewarding experience. We are indebted to the partners, staff and donors who contributed openly and honestly to make them possible, to AVAC’s EDI Committee and to Global Health Visions, a woman-owned and operated consulting organization that helped guide the strategic planning process.
As we look beyond World AIDS Day and into 2022, we also want to preview our upcoming AVAC Report 2021: Developing Options, Delivering Choices, which will look at the actions we are taking and those that as a field we all need to take to transform prevention “options” developed through research into prevention “choices” for people that can save lives and help end epidemics. This work is critical, and it is shared – just as we developed our strategic plan and EDI commitment in partnership with so many, so too will we move this work forward, together.
I hope you will enjoy reading these plans – and working with us to translate them into action. As always, we are sincerely interested in your thoughts, feedback and recommendations, and, especially, look forward to partnering with you in the future to realize our vision: a world without AIDS and with global health equity.