End of AIDS is within our reach

In order to realise the dream of AIDS-free generation, experts say new financial investments – and renewed commitments – from countries around the world will be critical to fully implement proven treatment and prevention tools already at hand and to continue essential scientific research.

“Are we willing to pay the price to turn the dream into a reality?” they asked

The recommendations are the outgrowth of an international conference on AIDS convened at Harvard School of Public Health in December, 2011.

The conference brought together more than 200 global experts in the field from academia, government, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector in anticipation of the upcoming International AIDS Conference in Washington D.C. being held July 22-27, 2012.

The experts pointed out the seven key areas where money and political will must be focused to end AIDS.

These include: The promise and challenges of using antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) to prevent HIV transmission; New AIDS treatments, improving the ARV pipeline to treat those infected, and working toward a cure; Enhancing the role of government leaders, the private sector, and non-governmental organizations (NGOS) in driving local and national responses to the epidemic.

They also pointed out steps like narrowing health disparities in preventing and treating AIDS caused by economic disempowerment, discrimination, and stigma, and preventing AIDS transmission from mothers to babies in low- and middle-income countries where access to prevention services are most limited, but where new drug interventions show AIDS could be virtually eliminated in infants and children.

Finally funding the pursuit for AIDS vaccines, which are necessary to actually eliminate the disease, at the same time maximizing and growing current investments in the global AIDS response, rather than decreasing funding.

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In addition to its humanitarian impact, money spent going forward is a good global and local investment because improving and sustaining people’s health enables them to be productive members of society contributing to the growth of their nations’ economies.

Their recommendations appeared in a new special supplement in the August, 2012 Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiencies (JAIDS).

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