Light at end of tunnel? HIV epidemic could be contained by 2030
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
7/17/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
While HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, continues to be an ongoing threat - more so in developing nations where education about its transmission is compromised, there now appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel. According to the United Nations, new HIV infections and deaths from AIDS are decreasing. Some are predicting that HIV/AIDS could be fully contained by the year 2030, "in every region, every country."
While HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, continues to be an ongoing threat - more so in developing nations where education about its transmission is compromised, there now appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "More than ever before, there is hope that ending AIDS is possible. However, a business-as-usual approach or simply sustaining the AIDS response at its current pace cannot end the epidemic," the U.N. program UNAIDS said in a global report. The statement was released a week ahead of an AIDS conference in Melbourne, Australia, next week.
The U.N. strongly cautions that HIV was still at epidemic levels across much of the world. Without access to treatments in developing countries, the virus was likely to continue to spread.
The U.N.'s report said the number of people infected with HIV was stabilizing at around 35 million worldwide. The epidemic has killed some 39 million of the 78 million people it has affected since it began in the 1980s.
"The AIDS epidemic can be ended in every region, every country, in every location, in every population and every community," Michel Sidibe, the director of UNAIDS, said in a report. "There are multiple reasons why there is hope and conviction about this goal."
The human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, can be transmitted via blood, breast milk or semen. Those infected, however, can keep the virus at bay with cocktails of drugs known as antiretroviral therapy.
Many medical experts have also been pushing for increased use of anti-retrovirals as a preventive measure in high-risk communities. Anti-retrovirals are far too expensive for those without insurance in the U.S. and for many in developing countries, where AIDS has proved most deadly.
UNAIDS said that at the end of 2013, some 12.9 million HIV-positive people had access to antiretroviral therapy. This figure is a vast improvement on the 10 million who were on treatment just one year earlier and the five million who were getting AIDS drugs in 2010.
New HIV infections have fallen by 38 percent since 2001, according to the report. AIDS deaths have fallen 35 percent since a peak in 2005.
"The world has witnessed extraordinary changes in the AIDS landscape. There have been more achievements in the past five years than in the preceding 23 years," the report said.
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