Mapping Pathways is a multi-national project to develop and nurture a research-driven, community-led global understanding of the emerging evidence base around the adoption of antiretroviral-based prevention strategies to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The evidence base is more than results from clinical trials - it must include stakeholder and community perspectives as well.

12 December 2011

To End AIDS, We Need a Plan!

via Huffington Post, by Mitchell Warren

Last Thursday (December 1), on World AIDS Day, President Obama threw the full weight of the U.S. government behind a vision that would have seemed outlandish until now: The end of the global AIDS epidemic.

Over the past few years, a string of HIV prevention research breakthroughs has put that ambitious goal within sight for the first time. Voluntary medical male circumcision is the most powerful, under-utilized biomedical HIV prevention strategy available: with a single surgical procedure, men's risk of HIV from female partners is reduced by more than 60 percent. Treatment for HIV positive individuals is also potent prevention -- reducing risk of transmission by up to 96 percent.

These two strategies are the cornerstone of a new era of HIV prevention, and it is critical that the president continue to be a supporter and leader of the chorus of advocates, health and political leaders who are saying "Yes, we can end AIDS."

Now the question is: How will we achieve this goal? What are the priority actions to take today, tomorrow, and years from now?

First and foremost, the resource commitments need to match the strength of the scientific data. Funds are needed to ensure that the most effective prevention is put in place for the people who need it, in programs that meet their needs, with rigorous evaluation of impact so that no dollars are wasted.

President Obama's commitment to expand access to HIV treatment for two million more people by 2013 is a wonderful first step. But his call to the leaders of the world to match the US commitment must be heeded.

Last week, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria - which supports HIV treatment programs in resource-poor countries along with PEPFAR - announced that it has been forced to curtail new grant-making until2014. The Fund pointed to a drop-off in contributions from governments in the face of the global economic crisis.

There's no question that economies are hurting. But global AIDS programs are among the smartest investments in history: they've saved countless lives and have shifted the course of the epidemic so that annual HIV infections are on a slow but steady decline. In most cases, these efforts represent a tiny share of donor countries' national budgets - for the U.S., it's well under one percent. It is precisely at this moment, when the potential dividends are greatest, that the world's modest AIDS investments should be sustained.

Read the rest.

[Content that is linked from other sources is for informational purposes and should not construe a Mapping Pathways position.]

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