AIDS Prevention Lags Behind HIV Treatment, Report Finds
AIDS Prevention Lags Behind HIV Treatment Gains, Report Finds
AIDS prevention efforts are not keeping pace with the gains being made in treating people with HIV, a new report released by the Global HIV Prevention Working Group finds.
Convened by the Bill & Melinda Gates and the Henry J. Kaiser Family foundations, the working group includes more than fifty public health experts, clinicians, biomedical and behavioral researchers, advocates, and people affected by HIV/AIDS. In the report, Bringing HIV Prevention to Scale: An Urgent Global Priority (36 pages, PDF), these experts call for a major scale-up of global HIV prevention programs, citing new data projecting that expanded access to prevention could avert approximately 30 to 60 million HIV infections expected to occur by 2015. "It's widely assumed that HIV continues to spread because prevention isn't effective, and that's simply not true," said David Serwadda, director of the Institute of Public Health at Makerere University in Uganda and co-chair of the working group. "The problem is that effective prevention isn't reaching the people who need it."
The report highlights case studies of countries that have successfully reduced HIV infection rates through aggressive prevention, such as Uganda, Thailand, and Brazil, and lesser-known successes such as Senegal. Moreover, scientifically proven prevention programs — such as those to reduce the risk of mother-to-child HIV transmission — are not being implemented on a sufficient scale and do not reach enough people, with enough intensity, to curb the epidemic.
Bringing HIV Prevention to Scale recommends that global spending on AIDS double over the next three years, and calls on governments and donors to ensure that resources are spent on proven prevention strategies targeted to people at highest risk. "We need to make the same gains in HIV prevention that we are making in HIV treatment," said Helene Gayle, M.D., M.P.H., president and CEO of CARE USA and co-chair of the Working Group. "We have a critical window of opportunity over the next ten years to dramatically slow the rate of new infections, and ultimately reverse the epidemic."