02 December 2013

AIDS Tipping Point Nears Amid Flagging Support

We’re not there yet, but the fight against AIDS is reaching a tipping point.
The number of new cases of HIV are falling while the number of people receiving life-saving treatment is going up. If current trends holds, the two trends will meet by 2015, says a new report.

That is the tipping point for beating AIDS.

The 2.3 million new HIV infections recorded in 2012 is the lowest number since the 1990s, says the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). The cost of treatment for AIDS is down dramatically from roughly $10,000 per person per year in the 1990s to $140 today.

However, Attention and financing for AIDS is wavering as the world nears this crucial moment. UNAIDS estimates that as much as $24 billion will be needed each year by 2015.

It is expected that The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria will not reach its goal of raising $15 billion next month. It should have more money than its last replenishment of $10 billion and Global Fund reforms will ensure it is better spent.
Beginning of the end of AIDS
The inflection point, called “the beginning of the end of AIDS” by advocates, could very well be the tipping point that will accelerate the world towards the defeat of AIDS. Reaching it will be a landmark moment.

“The disease is beating us essentially. Every year we have been outpaced by it,” said Erin Hohlfelder, Global Health Policy Director for ONE. “This will be the first time we will will get ahead of it.”

A report released ahead of World AIDS day by ONE uses updated data on infections and treatment to show that the estimated inflection point has moved up from 2022 to 2015.

The improvement is the result of new data that shows things were better than previously reported and the acceleration of progress by countries beset by AIDS, explained Hohlfelder.

Prevention has been a key part of why things are getting better. Male circumcision has proven to help reduce the spread of HIV, but it is only now starting to be pushed as a key intervention.

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