The HIV Epidemic Is Not Over?

Authors of a commission into the state of the global AIDS epidemic warn policy makers and researchers to do a better job of collaborating if we’re to have a hope of meeting targets.

More concerning still is their prediction that persistence of high HIV rates in many populations could spark a resurgence, and current funding and practices just aren’t up to the challenge of dealing with it.

A Lancet Commission led by the International AIDS Society has published a report combining the expertise of more than 40 experts from around the globe, providing a snapshot of where we’re currently at with one of history’s most notorious epidemics.

And the news could be better. A lot better.

t’s been roughly 40 years since acquired immunodeficiency syndrome – or AIDS – made the leap from being a rare and obscure illness to the start of a global pandemic.

Progress in prevention and treatments has been hampered by its stigma as a disease associated with vice, and in spite of a pharmacopeia of life-prolonging drugs and prophylactics, we still don’t have an effective vaccine.

Based on figures collected between 2015 and 2016, just under 40 million people worldwide are infected with the virus, with 2 million newly diagnosed in 2016 alone.

Tragically, more than 35 million people have succumbed to the virus’s debilitating effects on the immune system, a number that rises in spite of treatments that keep the virus’s progress under control.

Thankfully, the rate of new infections is dropping. But for the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the decline is not fast enough. Right now its target is to see just 500,000 new cases per year by 2020, with an end goal of a complete eradication by 2030.

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