World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October each year. This year, UNAIDS is highlighting that governments need to do more to integrate mental health and HIV services.

People living with HIV are at a greatly increased risk of developing mental health conditions, often suffering from depression and anxiety as they adjust to their diagnosis and adapt to living with a chronic infectious disease.

Is it better to improve people’s health by tackling specific diseases or by strengthening health systems? That’s a perennial debate in the global health community, between those enthusiastic about the power of disease-focused “vertical” programs, and others who stress the sustainability of system-oriented “horizontal” interventions. For someone relatively new to the global health world, this argument reminds me of obscure theological schisms that generated huge passions, but were sometimes divorced from reality.

Heads of State will gather in New York on 26 September this year at the United Nations General Assembly first-ever high-level meeting on tuberculosis (TB) to accelerate efforts in ending TB and reach all affected people with prevention and care. The theme of the meeting is “United to end tuberculosis: an urgent global response to a global epidemic”.

The high-level meeting on TB is a tremendous and unprecedented step forward by governments and all partners engaged in the fight against TB. It follows on from a very successful Ministerial Conference on Ending TB in Moscow on 16-17 November, 2017 which resulted in high-level commitments from Ministers and other leaders from 120 countries to accelerate progress to end TB.

The high-level meeting should result in an ambitious Political Declaration on TB endorsed by Heads of State that will strengthen action and investments for the end TB response, saving millions of lives.

FACTS ABOUT UN HLM on TB

(New York) — Today, UN Member States will come together at the UN Headquarters in New York City for the first “High Level Meeting” on TB, where countries will ratify a political declaration on tuberculosis (TB). Despite pressure, and securing several concrete pledges on expanding service delivery, the declaration falls short in its response to the leading infectious killer worldwide and the leading cause of death for people with HIV around the world. In order to have a meaningful impact on the TB epidemic, finally confront an infectious disease killing 4,500 people per day, and get serious about ending TB as a global epidemic, here is what the political declaration should have said:

Geneva - Heads of State and Government, TB survivors, affected communities, technical partners, researchers, private sector representatives, and other key stakeholders will descend on New York next week to put TB in the spotlight. The week will be marked by several side-events organized and supported by multiple Permanent Country Missions to the UN in New York and numerous TB stakeholders, including but not limited to the Stop TB Partnership, WHO, USAID, WEF, Global Fund, African Union, IFRC, KNCV, MSH, PATH, UNITAID, UNICEF, UNAIDS, UNF, CDC, GFAN, OSF, PIH, TB People, Nikkei and J&J.

This year’s theme for World AIDS Day, which will be marking its 30th anniversary on 1 December, will be “Know your status”.

Significant progress has been made in the AIDS response since 1988, and today three in four people living with HIV know their status. But we still have miles to go, as the latest UNAIDS report shows, and that includes reaching people living with HIV who do not know their status and ensuring that they are linked to quality care and prevention services.

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