End To AIDS Epidemic In Sight, But Political Support Needed For Success

In this Washington Post opinion piece, columnist Michael Gerson recaps advances in the science of HIV/AIDS prevention over the last 18 months and the projected benefits of using combination preventive tools. He writes, “After 30 years and 30 million funerals, the end of the global AIDS epidemic is suddenly, unexpectedly, within sight. It would be a final victory for this clever killer if America were too preoccupied and inward-looking to notice and act.”

“But the political timing of these scientific breakthroughs is poor,” he writes, adding that “with economic times far from normal, the case is complicated. Ending the global AIDS epidemic would require a major presidential push. It would also require congressional Republicans to make a human life exception to austerity.” Gerson continues, “This uphill effort would, however, be aided by a pragmatic argument. … A major prevention effort — reducing the number of new infections to below the number of new people placed on treatment — is the only morally acceptable strategy that eventually reduces American commitments on AIDS.” He concludes, “Having abruptly gained the scientific tools to defeat this epidemic, what remains is a test of will and conscience” (11/10).