PUBLICATIONS January 1, 2009

UNAIDS Newsletter: No Single Magic Bullet for HIV Prevention

In this issue of the UNAIDS newsletter we focus on four aspects of the HIV prevention response that have been the subject of discussion in recent months- homophobia, harm reduction for drug users, sex work and the role of condoms. UNAIDS recommends that HIV prevention programmes use combination prevention approaches that are informed by evidence and grounded in human rights. But what is combination prevention? It is choosing the right mix of behavioural, biomedical and structural HIV prevention actions and tactics to suit your actual epidemic and the needs of those most at risk, just as you choose the right combination and proportions of drugs for antiretroviral treatment. It means promoting knowledge and skills for behaviour change e.g. knowing your HIV status, knowing your risk, being faithful to one partner, using condoms consistently and correctly. Also it means providing biomedical prevention services e.g. male circumcision, prevention of mother-to-child transmission. And it means investing in structural interventions e.g. legal reform to ban discrimination against people living with HIV, and enforcement of laws that prohibit sexual and gender-based violence. It is acting to encourage individual awareness and promote a desire for change while simultaneously acting to shift community norms and broader social environments, to make individual change easier, more widespread, and more easily sustainable. The combination prevention strategy highlights the synergies that can come when these programmes are coordinated and reinforce each other. There is no single “magic bullet” for HIV prevention, but by making the right choices every country’s HIV prevention efforts can have the power, relevance and scale required to stop new HIV infections.

Source: UNAIDS
Copyright: UNAIDS