A new report by UNAIDS, Power to the people, released ahead of World AIDS Day, shows that where people and communities living with and affected by HIV are engaged in decision-making and HIV service delivery, new infections decline and more people living with HIV gain access to treatment. When people have the power to choose, to know, to thrive, to demand and to work together, lives are saved, injustices are prevented and dignity is restored.
This report argues that power in fact rests in the hands of the people, as can be seen in countless local, national and international movements to redistribute power and bring greater attention to neglected issues.
Mass movements to redistribute power often have humble beginnings, born out of desperate need or simmering injustice—sparks of frustration that ignite infernos of change. In the early days of the HIV response, grossly insufficient leadership and medical care ignited a global civil society movement. It was the loud and persistent voice of people living with HIV and key populations at high risk of infection that accelerated the pace of research on antiretroviral medicines and drove down their prices, and it is that same determination that continues to expand the provision of affordable, life-saving treatment to millions of people around the world living with HIV.