WASHINGTON, D.C. Ending the global HIV/AIDS pandemic may be possible by implementing a multifaceted global effort that expands testing, treatment, and prevention programs, as well as meets the scientific challenges of developing an HIV vaccine and possibly a cure, according to a Viewpoint in the July 25 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on HIV/AIDS.
Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Bethesda, Md., presented the article at a JAMA media briefing at the International AIDS Conference.
Dr. Fauci and co-author Gregory K. Folkers, M.S., M.P.H., also of the NIAID, write that "since the first cases of what is now known as AIDS were reported in 1981, an entire generation has grown up under the constant cloud of this modern-day plague. Across the globe, more than 34 million people are living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS, including approximately 1.2 million individuals in the United States. HIV/AIDS has been responsible for the deaths of an estimated 30 million individuals." They add that although the rate of new HIV infections has declined or stabilized in many countries, the disease continues to exact an enormous toll: 1.8 million deaths in 2010 alone, and grief and hardship for countless families and communities.
Because powerful interventions have been developed and scientifically proven effective, the fight against HIV/AIDS is currently viewed with considerably more optimism than in past years, the authors write. "If these tools are made widely available to those who need them, an AIDS-free generation may be possiblethat is, today's children could one day live in a world in which HIV infections and deaths from AIDS are rare."
Among the most important interventions is combination antiretroviral therapy, which significantly improves the health and longevity of individuals infected with HIV. "Since the advent of antiret
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