NCD Integration in HIV Programming: Improving Quality-of-Life for People Living with HIV – a virtual roundtable ahead of the High-Level Meeting on AIDS

This roundtable will be held as governments prepare to convene around the high-level meeting (HLM) on HIV and AIDS on 8-10th June 2021, which will review the progress made in reducing the impact of HIV since the last HLM on HIV and AIDS in 2016 and adopt a new political declaration to guide the future direction of the response.   

Thanks to advances in HIV research, treatment and access to care, HIV infection has become a chronic condition. The zero draft of the political declaration for the HLM recognizes the increasing need to ensure the wellbeing and health of older people living with HIV. While the draft specifically mentions the increased risk of cervical cancer and mental health conditions, it neglects many other common co-morbidities. Across all age groups, people living with HIV have an increased risk of NCD co-morbidities, including but not limited to cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, a number of cancers, and mental health conditions. Many of these linkages are bi-directional and, in some nations, half of those seeking HIV treatment also live with NCDs. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated the urgent need to achieve Universal Health Coverage for all, and to ensure the resilience of health systems to future health threats. The pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on people living with NCDs. Hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes are the three most common underlying conditions in people who have died of COVID-19 – these conditions are also common comorbidities for people living with HIV.  Today the pandemic is threatening progress towards the Sustainable Development Goal for Health (SDG3), which was already off-track - the global goals adopted in the United Nations Political Declaration on Ending AIDS (2016) have not been met. PLHIV often face broad health challenges in accessing integrated quality care for other chronic conditions. NCD co-morbidities are a critical barrier to achieving targets and improving the quality of life for people living with HIV.   

The experiences of people living with HIV and chronic co-morbidities highlight the frequent challenges of uneven and uncoordinated access to care for different conditions. The aim to ensure long lives in good health for people living with HIV is being compromised for example, by undiagnosed hypertension, lack of access to treatment for diabetes, or unaffordable cancer care. NCDs are a major health challenge as they impose potential disability, out-of-pocket costs, reduced quality of life and undermine progress towards HIV targets. Thus, people living with HIV and chronic co-morbidities face an increased risk of physical and financial hurdles to access, thereby negatively affecting health and wellbeing. Opportunities must be identified to invest in equitable, cost effective and integrated programmatic efforts.   

The HIV HLM serves as a critical opportunity for governments to reinforce gains made, support post-pandemic recovery and explore pathways to build more resilient, sustainable and integrated health systems which are responsive to peoples’ health needs to improve their quality of life.   

This roundtable will offer stakeholders the opportunity to share experiences and proven strategies to re-imagine health service delivery by exploring opportunities for integration of NCD prevention and care with key communicable disease areas.  


Moderator: Douglas Webb, Manager - Health and Innovative Financing, UNDP

Katie Dain, CEO, NCD Alliance

Sally Agallo Kwenda, Advocate, Our Views, Our Voices - Kenya

Aditya Wardhan, Executive Director, IAC (Indonesia AIDS Coalition)

Robert Selato, Head, National AIDS & Health Promotion Agency, Botswana

Bame Shatera, NCD Officer, National AIDS & Health Promotion Agency, Botswana

Rachel Nugent, Vice President - Global Noncommunicable Diseases, RTI

John-Arne Røttingen, Ambassador for Global Health, Norway's Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Irum Zaidi, Deputy Coordinator, Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator

Laurel Sprague, Special Advisor - Community Mobilization, UNAIDS

Andy Seale, Advisor, WHO/HQ

Kiki Kalkstein, Director of Advocacy and Engagement, GHC