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Need for Change in Social Norms to Prevent Spread of HIV

The global AIDS epidemic has touched the 25 year mark and this year has been heralded as the “least bad” year yet. With increasing// access to lifesaving treatments last year even in developing countries , a few hard-hit countries have reported declining HIV infection rates. However Bill Gates addressing the International AIDS Conference in Toronto this week said that current trends don’t bode well for the future because estimates have shown that for each person who started anti-HIV therapy last year, 10 more contracted the virus.

Gates noted, “When you extrapolate five to 10 years, you quickly see that there is no feasible way to … treat everyone …. unless we dramatically reduce the number of new infections.”

According to Dr. Helene Gayle, the president and CEO of CARE, a humanitarian organization, and co-chair of the International AIDS Conference, in spite of funding from international sources to about $8 billion this year she proposes that the spread of HIV has not met with success mainly because of the shift of focus from prevention to treatment of the disease. She states that much is needed to be done to integrate better prevention and treatment.

Without that failure was certain. In addition she stated the need for better coordination of prevention, testing, treatment and counseling to stop the disease..

When questioned about the results of prevention methods of the past 25 years she said, ‘HIV rates have decreased in countries like Uganda and Thailand and now in some countries in eastern and southern Africa. When people enroll in trials to test microbicides [topical agents that may prevent HIV transmission] or preventive drug therapies, their rate of HIV transmission often drops because they receive intensive preventive counselling, access to condoms and treatment for their other sexually transmitted diseases. This may explain why the first microbicide trial, done several years ago, couldn’t detect a difference betw
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