The AIDS pandemic claimed around 36 million lives between 1981 and 2016, and a similar number around the world currently live with the HIV virus. Some 1.2 million people died of AIDS last year, and another 1.8 million were infected. Those statistics are daunting, but the startling news is that the goal of an “AIDS-Free Generation” is realistically within reach. The required policy steps should be agreed in the early days of US President-elect Donald Trump’s administration.
The key reason that the epidemic can be ended is a scientific finding back in 2011 that showed that HIV-positive individuals receiving antiretroviral (ARV) treatment suppress the HIV virus in their bloodstreams so dramatically that they are very unlikely to transmit the virus to others through sex or shared needles. This finding confirmed the concept of “treatment as prevention.” If a high enough proportion of HIV-positive individuals receive ARV treatment, it is possible not only to save their lives, but also to break the transmission of the virus itself, thereby ending the epidemic.
Read the full article at Project Syndicate.
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