Is an end to AIDS within our lifetime really too much to hope for?
The facts might suggest otherwise.
According to UNAIDS, in 2013 over 2.1 million people contracted HIV and 1.5 million died of HIV and AIDS-related causes. If the recent Ebola crisis has taught us anything, it is that people living in countries with poor health systems and nonexistent infrastructure are the worst hit by public health emergencies. In these countries, AIDS is still the number one killer of women of reproductive age, and it is estimated that in East and sub-Saharan Africa a staggering 10.5 million children have lost one or both parents to this terrible disease.
Given such a gloomy outlook, what can be and is being done to reverse this? What can we, as politicians, do to stem and eventually reverse the tide of HIV and AIDS?
World AIDS Day: Ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030
A new report released by UNAIDS on Nov. 18 claims there is hope for a better future, one without AIDs, but one that is achievable only if we are brave enough to act now.
The report, “Fast-Track: Ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030,” outlines a number of targets that need to be reached over the next five years. These include reaching the so-called 90-90-90 target: 90 percent of people living with HIV knowing their HIV status, 90 percent of people who know their HIV-positive status undergoing treatment, and finally, 90 percent of people on treatment having suppressed viral loads — essentially, the amount of active HIV in a person’s body.
By taking this approach, we could potentially wipe out the AIDS epidemic by 2030.
Getting there will need quick global action and above all, strategic investment — especially in countries with poor health systems and limited national infrastructure. However, the rewards of doing so will be justified as we will have a chance to avert over 21 million AIDS-related deaths by 2030. This means fewer orphaned children, stronger families and communities, and a greater chance at prosperity for millions of people around the world.
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