UNAIDS Reports Deaths & Infections Down—Funding Must Go Up

In Global, News by AHF

Reported Decreases in New HIV Infections and Deaths Confirms that HIV Treatment is Prevention, and that Scaling Up Treatment Can End The Epidemic

By AIDS Healthcare Foundation

Today’s News Echoes AHF’s Longtime Advocacy for “Test and Treat” Method: To Control AIDS, the Number One Priority Must be To Find Those Who Are Positive and Provide Immediate Treatment

Today AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, hailed a UNAIDS Report that shows that increased access to anti-retroviral (ARV) medication has caused a significant drop in new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths worldwide.

According to a UNAIDS press release out today: “A new report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), released today shows that 2011 was a game changing year for the AIDS response with unprecedented progress in science, political leadership and results. The report also shows that new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths have fallen to the lowest levels since the peak of the epidemic. New HIV infections were reduced by 21% since 1997, and deaths from AIDS-related illnesses decreased by 21% since 2005.”

‎”These numbers prove that funding to provide HIV/AIDS treatment worldwide is working. Shame on us all if we back down now,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “The world must keep its promise on AIDS and not let up on funding. History will judge us harshly if we miss this chance to build on the momentum the global health community has gained to end this epidemic.”

“AHF has long been a proponent of the ‘Test and Treat’ approach – shown to be successful by this report. The world has the tools to control AIDS. The number one priority must be to find those who are HIV-positive and immediately link them to treatment. Because treatment IS prevention, this would not only save the lives of people who are already infected, but is the best method for preventing new HIV infections.”

The UNAIDS Report agrees: “In addition to improving quality of life and reducing AIDS-related deaths, antiretroviral treatment is now recognized as preventing HIV transmission, by reducing viral load and hence the potential for transmission. Coupling treatment access with combination prevention options is pushing new HIV infections down to record levels.”

“We can win this thing, in four steps,” continued Weinstein. “First, the United States has to commit to fully spend the $48 billion Congress, and then-Senator Obama, authorized for global AIDS. Second, at least half of that money has to be spent on treatment. Third, administration and overhead in our global AIDS programs have to be reduced to just 10% of costs. Finally, we should spend no more than $300 per person per year for treatment. The administration claims it is spending only $335 per person now, so we can meet that.”

“If we do these things, we can treat tens of million of people, and drive a stake through the heart of AIDS.”

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AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and services to more than 123,000 individuals in 26 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific region and Eastern Europe. www.aidshealth.org

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