World AIDS Day 2015: The Time to Act is Now
This World AIDS Day, December 1, marks a critical moment in the nearly 35-year long fight against AIDS. In June, UNAIDS announced that the world reached the Millennium Development Goal of getting 15 million people living with HIV, about 40% of all people with the virus, on treatment nine months ahead of schedule. It also announced that new HIV infections have fallen by 35% and AIDS-related deaths by 41%, since 2000, when the development goals were set. We now have the tools to end AIDS as a major pandemic, but the question remains whether or not we will marshal the resources and political will needed to increase those statistics enough to finally bring this devastating epidemic to a close.
“For the first time in history, we are at a tipping point towards reversing the pandemic,” says Dr. Susan Blumenthal, amfAR’s senior policy and medical advisor and former U.S. Assistant Surgeon General. “We have the scientific, the technological, and the public health tools to prevent and treat AIDS. Now we must commit the necessary resources so that we can soon reach the time when children have to turn to their history books to learn that there was ever a disease called AIDS.”
Doing so will require programs that better address HIV among key populations—men who have sex with men, transgender individuals, sex workers, and people who inject drugs—who continue to see their HIV rates rise worldwide, despite the decline among general populations. It will require enhancing testing and treatment programs to diagnose the nearly 50% of people living with HIV who don’t yet know their status and then linking them to care. And it will require increased funding for research to find a vaccine and a cure.
As part of that effort, last year amfAR launched its Countdown to a Cure for AIDS research initiative, aimed at developing the scientific basis for a cure by 2020. This World AIDS Day, the Foundation will co-host the second annual HIV Cure Summit with the University of California, San Francisco. The summit, which is free and open to the public, will feature updates from several prominent UCSF researchers on progress being made toward a cure, as well as presentations from amfAR leadership on the Foundation’s efforts to support and advance cure-focused research.
According to UNAIDS, if governments and other funders frontload their financial investments into fighting AIDS over the next five years, the effort could further reduce new HIV infections by 89% and AIDS-related deaths by 81% by 2030. If they don’t and the global HIV/AIDS response is too slow, recent progress will be reversed and the pandemic will continue to grow. The time to act is now.
What You Can Do:
- #SingForAIDS! Record and share your own remake of “That’s What Friends Are For” and join the global rallying cry for an end to the pandemic.
- Sign amfAR’s petition urging Congress to prioritize domestic HIV/AIDS funding in FY2016.
- Check out our shop and benefit amfAR by purchasing stylish amfAR-branded gear and other items.
- Visit www.worldaidscampaign.org for a calendar of World AIDS Day events around the world, or go to POZ.com to find a U.S. event near you.
- Donate to amfAR and support the search for a cure—every dollar counts!