The International AIDS Conference closed Friday with the message that getting treatment to more of the world's 34 million people with HIV is key to curbing the epidemic, short of a vaccine and cure that still a few years away. "It is unacceptable" that scientifically proven treatment and prevention tools aren't reaching people who need them most, Nobel laureate Dr. Francoise Barre-Sinoussi, co-discoverer of the AIDS virus and new president of the International AIDS Society, told the meeting's closing session.
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, whose foundation funds HIV work, also addressed the group. "All of you have created the possibility that we could have an AIDS-free generation," he said. "We just have to keep pushing the rocks up the hill." Spreading treatment will be hugely expensive up-front, but Harvard researchers said Friday that the investment would actually save hard-hit South Africa some money over five years, as savings from treating AIDS-related illnesses exceed the medications' price.
Eventually those savings will be overtaken by the costs of treating millions for decades, but treatment-as-prevention still is highly cost-effective, said Dr. Rochelle Walensky of the Harvard Center for AIDS Research. "People used to think there was no way we can do this," said Dr. Diane Havlir of the University of California, San Francisco, who co-chaired the world's largest AIDS meeting. With both scientific and financial validation, "for the first time we're optimistic that we can." But new U.S. data show how hard effective treatment is, even in developed countries.
Here, most HIV patients have access to treatment, and guidelines say they all should be offered it right after diagnosis. Yet just one in four have their infections under control, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday. Young people and blacks fare the worst. "We now need big thinking" to improve that number, said Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of CDC's AIDS center, who would like to see it at least doubled soon. "We have the tools. Now we have to move them into real-world policy so they touch the lives of those who need them most.”
A person in the West with a recommended guidelines and medications will not transmit HIV, so you are saving the person with HIv and any amounts of partners that person might have. We know that people that travel, like in Airlines, cruising ships, business people are capable to transmit in every port, particularly if they belong to the most endangered people at this time, which is blacks and young people of any race. Imagined that we are this crossroads in which transmission does not have to happen because we know how to do it. The problem persists with people that don’t know their status, either because they never been tested or because their testing is too far apart in intervals if they are sexually active with strangers.
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