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AIDS 2016 Opens In Durban Amid Hope To End Epidemic, Warnings Of Lagging Funding, Efforts

Agence France-Presse: AIDS summit in South Africa to warn of lagging effort
“Sixteen years after Nelson Mandela galvanized the world to take up the fight against AIDS, experts and activists return to the South African city of Durban on Monday, seeking to revitalize the fight against the disease. Some 18,000 scientists, campaigners, funders, and lawmakers are descending on the port city for the five-day 21st International AIDS Conference — a council of war on a pandemic that has claimed more than 30 million lives in 35 years…” (Van Schie, 7/16).

Agence France-Presse: AIDS summit opens with warnings that progress at risk
“…Again hosted by the coastal city of Durban, the International AIDS Conference is seen as the key biannual gathering of experts tackling a pandemic that has claimed more than 30 million lives in 35 years. Among those attending this 21st edition are U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, activists including singer Elton John and actress Charlize Theron, and Britain’s Prince Harry…” (Van Schie, 7/18).

Associated Press: Global AIDS conference exposes South Africa’s dramatic turn
“The first time the world came to South Africa for a conference on AIDS, the country’s leader shocked attendees by questioning whether HIV really caused the disease. … On Monday, the return of hundreds of AIDS researchers and activists to the seaside city of Durban will highlight how radically the country’s outlook has changed…” (7/17).

The Guardian: HIV/AIDS resurgence in Africa feared as Durban hosts conference
“Sixteen years after a groundbreaking conference shocked the world into the realization that thousands of Africans were dying of AIDS because they did not have access to life-saving drugs, campaigners, and scientists meeting once again in Durban this week will warn that the progress made since 2000 is not enough to end the epidemic. … Money is a growing concern. A report from the Kaiser Family Foundation in the U.S. and UNAIDS this weekend said that funding from donor governments had fallen last year for the first time in five years from $8.6bn in 2014 to $7.5bn…” (Boseley, 7/18).

NPR: World AIDS Conference Returns To Durban, South Africa. How Has The Conversation Changed?
“The port city is hosting the International AIDS conference for a second time. NPR’s Jason Beaubien tells NPR’s Lynn Neary that much progress has been made in combating AIDS, but more needs to be done…” (7/17).

NPR: International AIDS Conference Returns To Durban, South Africa
“When the conference was held there in 2000, HIV was terrifying. It was spreading rapidly and an infection was viewed as a death sentence. Now, conference attendees celebrate a sea change around HIV…” (Beaubien, 7/18).

Public Finance International: AIDS/HIV virus progress stalls as funding is cut
“…This year, for the first time since they jolted the world into action in 2000, attendees will issue warnings that the virus is starting to win back ground. The number of people that become infected with the virus every year, which had been falling, has now stalled in many countries. In others, a report by the United Nations’ agency UNAIDS said there had been worrying increases in new infections. … In a report released over the weekend, UNAIDS and the U.S.-based Kaiser Family Foundation warned that funding to support HIV efforts in low- and middle-income countries had fallen for the first time in five years in 2015…” (Rumney, 7/18).

VOA News: Optimism About Ending AIDS Misplaced, Some Experts Say
“…[UNAIDS’] ’90-90-90’ treatment plan, using 2020 as a target date, aims for 90 percent of people living with HIV to know their HIV status; 90 percent of HIV-positive people to receive treatment; and 90 percent of people on treatment to show suppressed viral loads. … It won’t come cheaply, UNAIDS said. In the next five years, low-income countries will need as much as $9.7 billion, and lower-middle-income countries will need $8.7 billion. That means the bill will fall on wealthier international donors, like the United States and other Western nations…” (Powell, 7/16).

Washington Post: A cure for AIDS is no longer unthinkable
“…Discussion of a cure will lead off the conference, which comes little more than a month after the United Nations committed to action to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030, despite formidable obstacles. Leaders of the global battle against HIV have described 2016 as a pivotal year in their effort…” (Bernstein, 7/16).

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