20 July 2012

7 steps to an Aids-free generation

A paper entitled "Engaging to End the Epidemic: Seven Essential Steps Toward an Aids-Free Generation," identifies the seven key areas to end Aids.


The end of Aids is within our reach. But as the authors of a new special supplement in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiencies (JAIDS) point out, new financial investments – and renewed commitments - from countries around the world will be critical to fully implement proven treatment and prevention tools already at hand and to continue essential scientific research.

"Only then will an Aids-free generation be possible," write the supplement's editors - Richard Marlink, Wafaa El-Sadr, Mariangela Simao and Elly Katabira  in their introduction. **

"Are we willing to pay the price to turn the dream into a reality?" they ask.

Dr Marlink, Executive Director of the Harvard School of Public Health AIDS Initiative, is available for media interviews on the recommendations in the special supplement, which are the outgrowth of an international conference on Aids convened at Harvard School of Public Health in December, 2011. The conference brought together more than 200 global experts in the field from academia, government, non-governmental organisations, and the private sector in anticipation of the 2012 International Aids Conference.

The supplement may be reviewed online here .

An end to Aids?

Entitled "Engaging to End the Epidemic: Seven Essential Steps Toward an Aids-Free Generation," the supplement identifies the seven key areas where money and political will must be focused to end Aids. These include:

  1. The promise and challenges of using antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) to prevent HIV transmission.
  2. New AIDS treatments, improving the ARV pipeline to treat those infected, and working toward a cure.
  3. Enhancing the role of government leaders, the private sector, and non-governmental organisations (NGOS) in driving local and national responses to the epidemic.
  4. Narrowing health disparities in preventing and treating Aids caused by economic disempowerment, discrimination, and stigma.
  5. Preventing Aids transmission from mothers to babies in low- and middle-income countries where access to prevention services are most limited, but where new drug interventions show Aids could be virtually eliminated in infants and children.
  6. Funding the pursuit for Aids vaccines, which are necessary to actually eliminate the disease.
  7. Maximising and growing current investments in the global Aids response, rather than decreasing funding. In addition to its humanitarian impact, money spent going forward is a good global and local investment because improving and sustaining people's health enables them to be productive members of society contributing to the growth of their nations' economies.

(EurekAlert, July 2012)

Read more:

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Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl qualified at the University of Pretoria before working for an HIV/AIDS NPO in Soweto for many years. She was named one of the Mail & Guardian's Top 200 Young South Africans in 2012.

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