Reports track current progress, pitfalls, funding and gaps of AIDS fight

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On the eve of Secretary Hillary Clinton’s release of the first United States global AIDS response strategy, two reports released in recent days give a look not only of the progress so far, but of the shortfalls the new plan must address.

Achieving the End, One Year and Counting, from AVAC, looks at the scientific advances that led the world to begin in the last 12 months to speak with founded optimism on how the AIDS epidemic could end. The counting from this last year, however, the report notes, could stretch from “in our lifetime” and “in a generation” indefinitely without focused efforts to address questions of how science will be best used.

The report identifies five immediate areas in which the potential of advances is threatened by inadequate investment, inaction, or miscommunication and points to an overarching deficit — coordinated and invested leadership. Examining the ambiguities and unknowns of the now ubiquitous term “combination prevention,”  the failures between each step of HIV treatment from testing to retaining in care, changes that can speed uptake of medical circumcision, the promise of pre-exposure antiretroviral preventive prescriptions, and threats to solutions yet to be found, the report could serve as a handbook for the first years of an effective blueprint. The end of the epidemic will take time, and effective prevention, the report points out. The beginning of the end, however, could start now. The missing element so far, however, the report notes has been consistent and committed leadership.

One’s report,  The Beginning of the End? Tracking Global Commitments on AIDS examines the vicissitudes and variances of involvement among donors and affected countries against a backdrop of known effective interventions and shortfalls in executing them.

Tracking progress efforts to eliminate parent to child transmission of HIV, ensure to treatment for people living with HIV, reduce new infections among adults and young people, it concludes that the “beginning of the end of AIDS” — the point when the numbers of people receiving treatment exceeds the numbers becoming infected — is a decade away unless the current rate of treatment is accelerated and effective prevention efforts doubled.

With its look at the input of G7 countries, the European Commission, governments of African countries and of countries with emerging economies, private sector donors and nonprofits, it is a call for coordination and accountability.

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