ONE defines “the beginning of the end of AIDS” as the point at which the number of new HIV infections annually is finally surpassed by the number of people newly added to treatment annually,” the report states. “At current rates of progress, the progression curves for these two indicators will not cross until 2022.”
According to the report, achieving the beginning of the end of AIDS by the end of 2015 will require, in addition to current treatment growth rates, an additional-0,000 people to start HIV treatment annually. The world will also have to double rates of progress on prevention of new infections.
“The progress that has been achieved has been through advocacy, the leadership of people like Michel Sidibé [UNAIDS executive director] and increased financial contributions, most recently from developing nations,” Miriam Were, former chairperson of Kenya’s National AIDS Control Council, told IRIN/PlusNews. Were is also a member of the Champions for an HIV-free Generation , a group of former African presidents and other influential people.
“What we need now is an accelerated response to get to that intersection where the number of people on treatment is rising faster than the number of new HIV infections, this way we can get to the beginning of the end of AIDS.”
Keys to goal
Key to achieving these goals will be increasing the money available to fight HIV – from developed, middle-income and low-income nations – and using what money is available efficiently. Also essential will be the use of new, scientifically proven HIV prevention methods.
“Tools such as voluntary medical male circumcision, treatment as prevention and upcoming ones like microbicides [vaginal gels used to prevent HIV] will all be critical to reducing new infections,” Were said. “We also need the higher risk groups, such as men who have sex with men and sex workers, to become more visible, to access services.”
The report notes that 2013 – when the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is due to have its fourth replenishment and global leaders are expected to meet and discuss the future of the UN Millennium Development Goals beyond 2015 – will be a “critical test of global commitment”.
“Without a heightened sense of urgency and without collective action, starting in 2013, the beginning of the end of AIDS will remain a distant ambition, and millions of lives will hang in the balance,” the authors said.
– Provided by Integrated Regional Information Networks.