No Rosy Scenarios for AIDS in 2031

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What will the HIV/AIDS epidemic look like in 2031, on its 50th anniversary? A provocative article in Health Affairs, online here, tries to answer that question, and the picture is not pretty.

Without a “gamer changer” in prevention, the AIDS epidemic will still be raging when we reach that milestone, write Robert Hecht, managing director of the Results for Development Institute, and his co-authors in the lead article.

“Without a change in approach, a major pandemic will still be with us in 2031,” Hecht et al declare. “Modeling carried out for the AIDS 2031 project suggests that funding required for developing countries to address the pandemic could reach $35 billion annually by 2031—three times the current level. Even then, more than a million people will still be newly infected each year.”

They argue that smart policy decisions and more efficient treatment strategies, among other steps, could cut costs and lead to better results. But the findings signal a major funding shortfall in global AIDS programs in the coming decade, not to mention the here and now.

“We are staring at the face of a huge crisis,” Hecht said in a news release highlighting the Health Affairs article.

Hecht’s piece is just one in a series of articles in this issue of Health Affairs devoted to current challenges in HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. The November/December issue also includes an article by Stefano Bertozzi, of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, on the need to shift away from the emergency response mode in AIDS to a more sustainable effort, and a piece by Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Gregory Folkers, who call for increased global funding for AIDS prevention research. Click here to check out this issue.

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