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U.S. Should Intensify Efforts To Expand HIV Treatment, Develop Vaccine, Find Cure

“[I]n a remarkable show of wise bipartisan support, on [November 19] the U.S. Congress reauthorized [PEPFAR] and the U.S. investment in the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria by passing legislation to extend the program’s authorization,” Myron Cohen, associate vice chancellor for global health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the architect and principal investigator of the multinational HPTN 052 trial, writes in The Hill’s “Congress Blog.” “This decision will save millions of lives and is a terrific example of the U.S. engaging in ‘health diplomacy,'” he states, adding, “But it is only one, vitally necessary step.”

“The week before, 40 U.S. legislators urged the president to double the number of people currently supported on treatment through PEPFAR,” Cohen notes, adding, “[W]e have known with certainty that early treatment of HIV dramatically reduces transmission of the virus” since the HPTN 052 trial was published three years ago. “By keeping people healthy and reducing new infections, early treatment of HIV proves to be a great investment,” he continues. “History tells us that when we are making progress against an infectious disease, we must not relax,” he writes, and concludes, “For HIV we must redouble our efforts in every regard: to get more people treated as quickly as possible, to make a vaccine, and to find a cure” (11/26).