Good news can be hard to find these days. But, results recently shared from a new study on HIV transmission cast a bright light on the fight to end the preventable disease.
The Lancet announcement that antiretroviral therapy (ART) can prevent HIV transmission between men who have sex with men is a big deal for several reasons.
We have the tools to defeat HIV/AIDS
Little more than a decade ago, the AIDS crisis seemed virtually unstoppable. Now, we know we can prevent the transmission of HIV if people living with HIV start and stay on treatment.
In past studies, it was found that the risk of HIV transmission is effectively zero for heterosexual couples when the partner living with HIV is on virally suppressive ART. In The Lancet’s most recent study, this same level of evidence was found for men who have sex with men. Among all couples involved in the study, there was an HIV transmission rate of zero because the HIV viral load was suppressed by ART!
We could be the generation to end AIDS
This evidence further confirms that this can be the generation to end AIDS if we put these lessons into practice.
Today, access to treatment is far from certain in the countries most in need. The prognosis for a person living with HIV – and their ability to prevent the spread of infection – is increasingly determined by where they live.
In 2017, 1.8 million people contracted HIV — about two-thirds of these new infections occurred in sub-Saharan Africa. Much of this transmission occurs because one out of every four people with HIV are unaware of their status. Almost 1 million people died from AIDS-related causes in 2017.
But to make sure these newly discovered results have an impact for everyone living with HIV, we need our leaders to demonstrate they are as committed to ending AIDS as the scientists and clinicians on the front lines.
Luckily, our leaders have a powerful opportunity to unleash a wave of untapped resource and human potential that will have a transformational effect on communities and economies around the world.
The Global Fund
In October, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria will host its Sixth Replenishment. We’re asking world leaders and private investors to come together and help save 16 million lives between 2021 and 2023 by meeting their replenishment goal of at least US$14 billion. This investment is the bold ambition the world needs to get us back on track to stop the spread of these diseases.
To continue funding life-saving programs like this one, we need world leaders to #StepUpTheFight by fully financing the Global Fund.