The end of AIDS is within our reach. But as the authors of a new special supplement in the August, 2012 Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiencies (JAIDS) point out, new financial investments - and renewed commitments - from countries around the world will be critical to fully implement proven treatment and prevention tools already at hand and to continue essential scientific research.
"Only then will an AIDS-free generation be possible," write the supplement's editors -- Richard Marlink, Wafaa El-Sadr, Mariangela Simao and Elly Katabira - in their introduction. **
"Are we willing to pay the price to turn the dream into a reality?" they ask.
Dr., Marlink, Executive Director of the Harvard School of Public Health AIDS Initiative, is available for media interviews on the recommendations in the special supplement, which are the outgrowth of an international conference on AIDS convened at Harvard School of Public Health in December, 2011. The conference brought together more than 200 global experts in the field from academia, government, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector in anticipation of the upcoming International AIDS Conference in Washington D.C. being held July 22-27, 2012.
The supplement may be reviewed online at http://journals.lww.com/jaids/toc/2012/08012 .
Entitled "Engaging to End the Epidemic: Seven Essential Steps Toward an AIDS-Free Generation," the supplement identifies the seven key areas where money and political will must be focused to end AIDS. These include:
- The promise and challenges of using antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) to prevent HIV transmission
- New AIDS treatments, improving the ARV pipeline to treat those infected, and working toward a cure
- Enhancing the role of government leaders, the private sector, and non-governmental organizations (NGOS) in driving local and national responses to the epidemic
- Narrowing health disparities in preventing and treating AIDS caused by economic disempowerment, discrimination, and stigma
- Preventing AIDS transmission from mothers to babies in low- and middle-income countries where access to prevention services are most limited, but where new drug interventions show AIDS could be virtually eliminated in infants and children
- Funding the pursuit for AIDS vaccines, which are necessary to actually eliminate the disease
- Maximizing and growing current investments in the global AIDS response, rather than decreasing funding. In addition to its humanitarian impact, money spent going forward is a good global and local investment because improving and sustaining people's health enables them to be productive members of society contributing to the growth of their nations' economies.
Each article provides a unique assessment of progress and a specific plan for moving forward. Dr. Marlink is available for interviews to discuss these assessments and plans. Interviews with other contributors to the supplement can also be arranged.
**Richard Marlink: Harvard School of Public Health, and Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation; Wafaa El-Sadr, Mailman School of Public Health and College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment (ICAP) and Harlem Hospital Center; Mariangela Simao, Rights, Gender and Community Mobilization Department, UNAIDS Secretariat; Elly Katabira, International AIDS Society, and Makerere University College of Health Sciences, Kampala Uganda