HIV remains a global challenge. Between 36.7 million and 38.8 million people live with the disease worldwide. And more than 35 million have died of AIDS-related causes since the start of the epidemic in the mid-1980s. Two years ago, the International Aids Society and The Lancet put together a commission made up of a panel of experts to take stock and identify what the future response to HIV should be. The report is being released to coincide with the 22nd International Aids Conference in Amsterdam. The Conversation Africa’s Health and Medicine Editor Candice Bailey spoke to Head of the International AIDS Society Professor Linda-Gail Bekker, who also led the commission, about its report.
What have we learnt about the global HIV response in the last 30 years?
The world had an emergency on its hands 30 years ago with the arrival of HIV. A huge amount of effort was put into trying to find solutions. And there were some incredible break-throughs. First was the miracle of lifesaving antiretroviral treatment, the biggest game-changer over the last three decades. Great strides have been made in rolling out the treatment. UNAIDS tells us that 22 million people are currently on treatment. That’s truly remarkable.
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