Find out how we're helping to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS using new data and technologies to help prevent new infections.
In the 30 years since HIV/AIDS was first discovered, the disease has become a devastating pandemic, taking the lives of 30 million people around the world. In 2011 alone, HIV/AIDS killed 1.7 million people, 1.2 million of whom were living in sub-Saharan Africa. Though life-saving antiretroviral treatment is available, access is not yet widespread; of the estimated 14.8 million HIV-positive individuals in need of treatment, nearly 6 million are not currently able to access it.
Even more troublesome, new HIV infections continue to outpace those added onto antiretroviral treatment. More than 330,000 infants and children were newly infected with HIV in 2011, and 2.5 million total new HIV infections occurred in the same year—a rate that has held relatively constant since 2006.
Because individuals in their most productive years (15-49 years old) are most commonly infected with HIV/AIDS, the disease has a wide socioeconomic impact that threatens development progress in many poor countries, especially those in sub-Saharan Africa. 14.8 million children in the region have already lost one or more parents to the disease. In South Africa alone, 1.9 million children have been orphaned due to AIDS, exacerbating a social dynamic that is already deeply challenged by crime, violence and unemployment. HIV/AIDS targets people during their most productive years, making economic progress in many sub-Saharan African countries even more of a challenge. Some estimates suggest that annual GDP growth in highly affected countries can be 2-4% lower than in countries with the absence of AIDS.
In 2005, world leaders at the G8 summit in Gleneagles and at the U.N. World Summit in New York pledged to reach universal access to prevention, care and treatment by 2010. Though this target was not achieved, leaders recommitted to the fight against AIDS in 2011 by agreeing to work toward achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support by 2015. Delivering these essential services will require a strengthening of health systems, especially in Africa, which is home to two-thirds of those requiring antiretroviral (ARV) treatment, but only 3% of the global health care workers to provide it.
We are at a critical moment in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The world has made incredible progress in its efforts to understand, prevent and treat this disease, and progress has been particularly rapid during the last ten years. But by the end of 2011 more than 8 million people were on life-saving antiretroviral treatment, up from just 300,000 in 2002; of that 8 million more than 6.2 million were living in sub-Saharan Africa. Botswana, Namibia, Rwanda, Swaziland, and Zambia have achieved universal access to antiretroviral therapy by providing treatment to at least 80% of patients in need. In Benin, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, and Zimbabwe more than sixty percent of people in need of antiretroviral medication are receiving it and coverage levels are approaching the 80% target.Though we have not made enough progress on the prevention of HIV, we now have impactful new data and technologies to help us better prevent new infections in the years to come. More sophisticated treatment regimens now make it possible to prevent the transmission of HIV from mother-to-child in as many as 98% of cases. Nearly 57% of all pregnant women with HIV can now receive ARV prophylaxis for PMTCT and a global effort co-led by UNAIDS and the US Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator (OGAC) has called for leadership from the 22 highest-burden MTCT countries to help virtually eliminate transmission from mother-to-child by 2015. New research over the last two years has also provided groundbreaking data on two fronts: the impact of treatment as prevention, and the role of male circumcision in prevention strategies. The HPTN 052 clinical trial showed that treatment acts as prevention, reducing the likelihood of an HIV-positive individual on treatment passing HIV on to others by up to 96%. Voluntary medical male circumcision, another powerful tool, was shown to reduce the likelihood of HIV infection by up to 60%. Combination prevention, including treatment-as-prevention and other strategies such as PMTCT, the ABC strategy to prevent sexual transmission (Abstain, Be faithful, & correct and consistent use of Condoms), male circumcision, and reduction of unsafe blood and medical injections, will play a central role in moving us towards ending the pandemic.
Now, for the first time in history, the world can look ahead to the beginning of the end of the AIDS pandemic. We have the tools necessary to achieve an AIDS-free generation if we focus our efforts on three interim goals: virtual elimination of mother-to-child transmission by 2015, expansion of antiretroviral treatment to 15 million people by 2015, and implementation of innovative prevention techniques to stop new infections. To bend the curve of the AIDS pandemic, these goals cannot be achieved in isolation from one another, nor can their achievement be the sole responsibility of a small number of donor countries. Only when working in parallel - through the broad support of donors, African governments, international organizations, and the private sector -will the beginning of the end of AIDS become a reality.
During a time of financial austerity and economic crisis in many parts of the world, it is essential for both donor and recipient countries to reaffirm their commitments to combating HIV/AIDS while making strategic investments. From 2002 to 2009, global funding for HIV/AIDS increased dramatically from $800 million to $6.8 billion annually, and these international investments are paying off: the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria has helped 4.2 million people receive ARV treatment and conducted 250 million HIV counselling and testing sessions, while the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has directly supported 5.1 million people on ARV treatment as of September 2012 and reached nearly 15 million people with care services, including more than 4.5 million orphans in FY2012.
Sustaining our current progress, with an aim towards beginning to end AIDS, will require increased focus on prevention, expanded ARV treatment, and continued scientific research. At this critical juncture, it is imperative for all of us to make strategic investments and to keep an eye on the finish line.
7 Dec. 2012
AIDS used to be a death sentence, but now more than 8 million people are on life-saving treatment. By 2015, with the scale up of treatment and prevention for HIV, we could see the beginning of the end of AIDS. It Starts With You. Tell World Leaders to keep up the fight. More
25 April 2013
ONE welcomes European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs’s renewed support for critical global health initiatives announced today at the Global Vaccine Summit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. In a speech, President Barroso reaffirmed the EU’s commitment to the GAVI vaccines alliance as well as treatments for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria through the Global Fund. More
28 Nov. 2012
Ahead of World AIDS Day on 1 December, ONE is calling on the European Union to maintain funding for lifesaving AIDS programmes as new research shows the world is off-track for achieving key targets for the year 2015. More
in sub-Saharan Africa are receiving antiretroviral treatment (ARVs), up from just 50,000 in 2002.
Annual loss in GDP growth in countries that are highly affected by HIV/AIDS, compared to those that are not.
in sub-Saharan Africa have reduced new HIV infections by more than 25%.
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Posted by Guest Blogger