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Editorial, Opinion Pieces Recognize World AIDS Day, Call For Additional Research, Funding, Political Will To End Epidemic

New York Times: An Opening in the War Against AIDS
Editorial Board

“…Each year the number of people who become infected [with HIV] outpaces the number of people starting treatment for the virus. That is discouraging given that the opportunities to control the spread of the virus have never been better, scientifically and financially. It is imperative to move aggressively to change the trajectory of this epidemic. … Some experts are rightly skeptical that current measures will be enough to end the global epidemic. They think funding should focus on a vaccine to prevent infection and a cure to eliminate the virus from those already infected. Both are formidable challenges. The Foundation for AIDS Research and the University of California, San Francisco, Medical School announced a collaboration this week to find the scientific basis for a cure within five years, a goal the project’s leader described as more aspirational than realistic. However long it takes, research is needed to provide lasting success” (12/2).

U.S. News & World Report: AIDS: It’s Too Soon to Declare Victory
Chris Beyrer, professor of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and president of the International AIDS Society

“…The number of people dying from AIDS each year has gone down as the number of people on antiretroviral therapy — which also prevents HIV from spreading — grows. But HIV and AIDS continue to devastate communities across the globe … Let’s not squander all the knowledge we’ve gained and the goodwill the United States has built as the largest single funder in the global HIV response. We must increase funding for AIDS and continue to fight for the right of all people to have access to prevention measures and treatment. We must keep looking for a real cure (not just long-term treatment) and a preventive vaccine. By taking these steps, President Obama and the next U.S. president, whether Republican or Democratic, can secure our global legacy by leading the charge in stamping out this horrific disease…” (12/1).

The Guardian: World AIDS Day: ‘We need to end stigma and change our ideas about manhood’
Edwin Cameron, South African constitutional court judge

“…If we are to end the HIV pandemic, we need strategies that target all the actors. We have to understand how HIV spreads, and AIDS kills, in a broader field of gendered power and inequality, and unequal access to health services. This means that we must continue to implement strategies to empower women and advance their human rights. It also means that we must engage men and boys to increase their proactive support for gender equality, and we must do a better job of reaching men with critical HIV services. … On World AIDS Day, an imperative focus must be to get men to come forward for testing and treatment. HIV can be beaten in the human body, and in our country, if we combat stigma and change our ideas about manhood, expand testing and treatment, and proffer practicable prevention strategies to everyone” (12/1).

Devex: The experiences that made me an AIDS advocate — and keep me going 30 years later
Emilio Emini, director of HIV for the global health program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…[W]e must continue investing in the research and development of promising long-acting [HIV] prevention methods. … We need to … reconfigure our programs to better meet the real life needs of women and girls. What’s more, we must work to truly understand and address the structural barriers women and girls face — including poverty, gender inequality, and sexual violence — that place them at greater risk for HIV infection. … Confronting all of these challenges will require us to keep the most vulnerable at the center of our efforts. For young women and other marginalized populations around the world, HIV does not merely invade their immune systems — it threatens their ability to prosper…” (12/1).

New England Journal of Medicine: Ending the HIV-AIDS Pandemic — Follow the Science
Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and Hilary D. Marston, medical officer and policy adviser for global health at NIAID

“…Taken together, [the SMART, HPTN 052, START, and IPERGAY] studies provide an evidence-based blueprint for effective treatment and prevention of HIV infection and will serve as critical tools in the fight to end the HIV-AIDS pandemic. However, in order to realize that promise, the political will must be mobilized to match the scientific evidence and provide the financial and human resources necessary to dramatically scale up HIV testing and treatment around the world. The science has spoken. There can now be no excuse for inaction” (12/1).

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