Addressing HIV, poverty and inequality in urban settings

22 March 2016
Sephy Valuks

Under the banner of “Action on extreme poverty and inequality to end AIDS”, the World Bank gathered researchers, implementers, policy makers and advocates for a two-day expert consultation in Washington, DC on 22-23 February 2016.

Thoughts on how to address HIV, poverty and inequality in urban settings will directly contribute to the efforts of the Bank’s Fast-Track Cities Initiative.

The meeting sought to: 

  • develop key points on social drivers and structural interventions for proposed inclusion in the political declaration expected at the UN High-level meeting on HIV/AIDS to be held in June 2016
  • provide guidance to the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Team (IATT) on priorities within the social protection component of the new UN joint programme strategy in the context of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • develop a clear understanding of social protection and HIV programming in urban settings
  • develop clear strategies for ending AIDS and ending poverty in the world’s most adversely affected large cities

Revisiting his 1990s book, Women, Poverty and AIDS, Paul Farmer pointed out that little has changed. We still need to address the "upstream" and structural causes of HIV vulnerability. However we are now being socialised into a perspective of scarcity and our commitment to developing structural drivers is evaporating.

Paul Farmer

The consultation provided a strategic forum for sharing STRIVE thinking and evidence and was attended by Dr Lori Heise, STRIVE co-research director. It was the third in a series convened by the sponsoring organisations to consider the intersection of the World Bank’s goal to end extreme poverty and inequality by 2030 and the UNAIDS goal to end the AIDS epidemic within the same time frame.