In a critical declaration on HIV/AIDS signed last week, UN member states made laudatory pledges toward a host of ambitious goals, most notably aiming to get 15 million people on antiretrovirals by 2015.
The declaration won enthusiastic approval from major AIDS organizations, as well as from mainstream media outlets like the New York Times.
What member states “forgot” to do in that document, however, is include access to medically appropriate housing as a key structural tool in preventing and treating HIV/AIDS.
The omission reflects continued failure by AIDS activists and governments to recognize the crucial role that safe housing will play in ending AIDS. It also demonstrates a flawed emphasis on individual approaches to stopping the virus, rather than a recognition that we need to address larger environmental issues—like homelessness and poverty—to end this crisis.