The huge scientific advances in the treatment and prevention of HIV infection over the past years have created unprecedented optimism that the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic can be won, but is being tempered by funding uncertainty amidst the ongoing global financial crisis, delegates heard today at the XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) taking place in Washington, D.C. this week.
The reduction in global financing being devoted to HIV/AIDS is driving keen debate amongst policy makers, service providers, activists and scientists as to how best prioritize scarce resources. ?We now have the scientific tools to turn the tide of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and we need to seize that opportunity before us,? said Dr. Elly Katabira, AIDS 2012 International Chair and President of the International AIDS Society (IAS).
?To do so, we need to adapt ourselves to a changing environment and that means coming up with new and effective ways of delivering services to the most-affected groups of people in a tough global economic environment. But it is also incumbent on donors and national decision makers to bite the bullet and maintain funding of all facets of HIV/AIDS programmes now that we can see that tools such as scaling up treatment as prevention have the potential to turnaround the epidemic.?
Some 22,000 scientists, policy makers, people living with HIV and other stakeholders are attending AIDS 2012 this week in D.C.
?Continue to invest in science ? that is my message to all the decision makers watching us this week in D.C.?, said Diane Havlir, AIDS 2012 U.S. Co-Chair and Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.? All the scientists responsible for the huge breakthroughs over the past few years are here at AIDS 2012 and accompanying them are many others who bring with them compelling new data on the latest HIV drugs, HIV cure research, new TB drugs and creative financing models. The story being told here this week is that scientifically, when it comes to AIDS, there is more light at the end of the tunnel than there has ever been in the three decades of the epidemic.?
Source: International AIDS Society, Switzerland