It might seem a world away, but imagine the reactions you would’ve stirred up if a few decades ago you would’ve said ‘AIDS gone by 2030.’ Laughter, misbelief, and skepticism – to say the least. But, recent statements by the UN have proven more than hopeful that we can eliminate the disease by the third decade of this century.
The secretary-general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, has expressed his views on the ongoing battle that the UNAIDS is fighting. Admitting that the year 2030 as a goal is ambitious, past experience, he says, shows us that this can be achievable. The talk was held at a conference on the theme of financing which was held in Ethiopia, July 13th.
The previous fifteen years have shown promising results, he said. To do this, the UNAIDS means to implement prevention, treatment, and support services in all areas where such services are needed.
Simple comparisons show us that the deadline is viable:
In the year 2000, under 700 thousand people could receive the antiretroviral treatment necessary. By 2015, this number has soared. Now, 15 million people are getting the much-needed meds.
Back 15 years ago, treatment costs could go as high as $10.000 per year, patients needing a total of eight daily pills. Nowadays, you can even get AIDS treatment for a mere $100. These new drugs no longer just treat the symptoms and hope that the disease will go away. No. With the new pills the disease quickly regresses and there are even signs it reduces the likelihood of transmission of the HIV virus.
Michel Sidibe, the UNAIDS executive director, not-so-jokingly said that at the start of the epidemic, your best hopes were that your family would not decide you were too much of a burden and throw you out of the house.
The most important change has occurred in changing the mentalities and policies within the pharmaceutical industry. Also an important was legislation which permitted countries not-so-developed to get the drug and multiply it at increasingly low costs.
Since the year 2004, AIDS has dropped as a death cause by 40%. Since 2001, new HIV infections have dropped by 35%. All the while, the total money spent globally on AIDS rose by a whopping $17 billion. Also a great achievement has been reducing the number of infections in children by 58% in the 2000-2014 period. This number will be further raised by the new vaccine developed in Cuba just last month which prevents mother-child transmission of the virus.
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