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AIDS, NCDs, and the ABCs of Organizing

The battle against AIDS is not over, but, thanks to the community of activists who raised the alarm decades ago, we know that it can be won. Elements of the AIDS movement's success could be applied to help bring non-communicable diseases under control.

GENEVA – Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), like heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and chronic lung disease, are responsible for 70% of all deaths. There is incontrovertible evidence that tobacco use, inactivity, unhealthy diets, and excessive alcohol consumption increase the odds of dying prematurely from an NCD.

And yet, despite widespread knowledge of the risks, global obesity goes largely unchecked, while tobacco and alcohol use continue to rise. It is against this backdrop that networks of NCD alliances met December 9-11 at the second Global NCD Alliance Forum, in the United Arab Emirates.

As they search for solutions to bring NCDs under control, they should look for inspiration to the movement to fight AIDS. People living with and affected by HIV continue to drive response efforts, and their unique form of mobilization has been instrumental to progress. While the battle is not over, AIDS activists know that it can be won.

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