More funding needed from international ‘prevention’ partners says AIDS2012 conference
(WNN) Washington, D.C., UNITED STATES: Opening Sunday, with what is expected to be 20,000 people in attendance, the international AIDS2012 Conference hosting the theme “Turning the Tide Together” reminded the world that the goal to prevent conditions of AIDS worldwide can be made. But reminders also highlighted that lower international and regional funding could restrict the treatment of HIV/AIDS worldwide.
“There is no doubt that I often say that we cannot manage what we cannot measure,” outlined San Fransisco AIDS medical expert and co-chair of the conference Dr. Diane Havlir.
In 1990, on the wave of public fear about an international epidemic, Dr. Havlir remembers the unfolding story of AIDS in San Fransisco as a young physician. “This story was unfolding all around the world,” said Dr. Havlir. “I could not imagine just standing by idly. So I joined this very special community that is dedicated to change the story of AIDS.”
The change that has come with gains in the treatment to AIDS has been nothing short of remarkable, say many regional and global advocates.
AIDS has now been transformed from a certain ‘death sentence’ to a chronic and ‘treatable’ illness. Treatment ‘as prevention’ is now the strongest course of action medical teams are taking worldwide. And its working. But challenges still exist.
Today 70 percent of all people who carry AIDS are not aware of their condition; every year 300,000 children contract the disease as 2,000,000 million people die each year, said Dr. Havlir in her opening statement.
According to the latest 2011 data coming from the United Nations AIDSinfo data analytics charts, 34.1 million adults and children are now living with HIV worldwide. New global cases of HIV infection among children and adults now number 2.5 million, a number that is actually down from the 3.3 million figure charted in 2001.
The United Nations highlights that leaders in funding for programs to prevent HIV/AIDS has shown a steady and growing increase inside countries most affected by AIDS, especially nations like South Africa. With this, between 2006-2011, 81 countries have increased their domestic investments for AIDS by more than 50 percent.
But the challenge for the prevention of AIDS now falls on international funding, which has fallen flat with no increases since 2008 levels.
“This is a critical time,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, (UNAIDS). “We now have 8 million people on antiretroviral treatment and we are seeing reductions in new HIV infections, even in the most affected communities. But it is not enough to think that HIV is a disease that can be managed with pills. HIV has to be brought to an end and funding shortfalls must not become the roadblocks that prevent us from achieving our goals,” continued Sidibé.
To see more from the AIDS2012 conference with today’s schedule, highlights and resources link HERE
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