For World AIDS Day 2023, Friends of the Global Fund, Japan (FGFJ) invited Professor Salim S. Abdool Karim and Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim from Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) in South Africa to Tokyo, Japan.
On November 30th, FGFJ invited Dr. Karims to a joint Diet Task Force and Advisory Board meeting. The meeting included about 28 participants across the FGFJ Diet Task Force, Advisory Board, and additional observers. Dianne Stewart, Deputy Director of the External Relations and Communications Division and Head of the Donor Relations Department at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (The Global Fund), was also invited as a guest speaker.
Throughout the meeting, Dr. Abdool Karims and Ms. Stewart emphasized the critical role of global solidarity and science in combating HIV/AIDS. Dr. Karims underscored the significance of investing in scientific research, noting the arduous journey in developing diagnostics and treatments for HIV, and the ongoing challenge in creating an effective vaccine. Dr. Quarraisha Abdool Karim noted that in 2022, 39 million people were HIV positive, a drastic change from earlier years when the disease was often fatal. Dr. Karims’ research, spanning over 30 years, has been pivotal in HIV prevention, focusing on women aged 16-24.
Dianne Stewart recognized the significant contributions and leadership of Japan, including pledging up to US$1.08 billion for the 7th Replenishment. She applauded Dr. Karims for their contributions to HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention, in spite of numerous challenges, and their receipt of the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize. Ms. Stewart also highlighted the impact of the Global Fund and CAPRISA in reducing AIDS-related deaths by 72% and new infections by 61%, with 24.5 million people now receiving ART treatment. She also discussed the remaining challenges in the fight against HIV/AIDS, including social and economic disparities, gender rights issues, and the ambitious goal of ending AIDS by 2030.
Members of the Diet Task Force and Advisory Board received this information well, with one Diet member sharing his own experience from the 2023 FGFJ Diet Task Force site visit to Vietnam, emphasizing the significance of the community-based approach, especially in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Participants also mentioned the importance of building a long-term strategy to create robust and sustainable health architecture to tackle this disease.
*For more information, please visit the FGFJ website