The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has made little progress in reducing the region’s HIV infections, so activists are asking the group’s 4,000 parliamentarians to make HIV/AIDS a top priority, Inter Press Service News reports.

According to the article, a 2008 UNAIDS study indicates that more than half of all Eastern and Southern African countries planned HIV prevention strategies but only 20 percent of those plans are being implemented. One of the SADC’s targets includes Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 6, which aims to decrease HIV/AIDS infections by 2015 and supply universal access to treatment by 2010.

To help SADC accomplishing its goals, activists suggested that parliaments consult with their constituents. Kasuko Mutukwa, MD, the SADC’s Parliamentary Forum secretary general, asked that HIV/AIDS desks be present within each parliament in an effort to push HIV-specific programs and legislation.

“If all parliamentarians rose to the occasion, they could make a major impact on combating the pandemic,” Mutukwa said.