We are at a critical moment in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The world has made incredible progress in its efforts to understand, prevent and treat this disease over the last three decades, and progress has been particularly rapid during the last ten years. AIDS used to be a ready death sentence, but by the end of 2010 more than 8 million people were on life-saving antiretroviral treatment, up from just 100,000 in 2002. Technology now makes it possible to prevent the transmission of HIV from mother-to-child in as many as 98% of cases. New research has shown that the rate of new HIV infections can be drastically reduced with a combination of existing and new technologies. Leaders from across the aisle and from around the world have demonstrated political and financial will to fight this disease.
Yet there is much work to be done. There are still nearly 6 million HIV-positive people in need of treatment in low- and middle-income countries. More than 330,000 infants and children are infected with HIV each year. New HIV infections still outpace the number of people added on to treatment annually. Funding for AIDS has largely leveled off. Now more than ever, we must recommit ourselves to the fight against HIV and to achieving specific, measurable goals that will help us bend the curve of this pandemic.
Renewing Momentum in the fight against HIV/AIDS
ONE has always been an ardent supporter of the fight against AIDS, advocating for the creation of innovative delivery mechanisms such as the President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and The Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. ONE continues to advocate for a world in which HIV transmission is halted and there is universal access to treatment for those in need. While the achievement of those goals remains some years off, the achievement of specific interim goals by 2015 can drive momentum. These goals include:
1. Virtually eliminate mother-to-child transmission: an AIDS Free Generation by 2015
2. Accelerate access to treatment: 15 million people on ARVs by 2015 (15×15)
3. Implement innovative prevention strategies to stop new infections
Though these goals are ambitious, they are all measurable and achievable. Critically, to bend the curve of the AIDS pandemic, they cannot be achieved in isolation from one another or by only a handful of donors. Only when achieved in parallel—through the broad support of donors, African governments, organizations, and the private sector—will the beginning of the end of AIDS as a pandemic be real.