Incredible Gains in the Fight Against HIV/AIDSPosted on by
As we usher in the New Year, I am struck by the incredible gains made – especially in the last 12-24 months – in the fight against HIV/AIDS and the key role the United States has played. The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), under the leadership of the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator (OGAC), has helped pave the way to historic progress. The U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, Ambassador Eric Goosby, has strategically guided the implementation of PEPFAR by leveraging scientific advances, innovation, and the strengths of each PEPFAR implementing agency to ensure the greatest health impact.
This impact was confirmed in the UNAIDS 2012 global report. New HIV infection rates have fallen by 50% or more in 25 countries with an additional 14 countries having achieved incidence declines ranging from 25% to 49%. Half of all reductions in new HIV infections are among children, reflecting strong progress towards the elimination of mother-to-child transmission.
These unprecedented results also show increasing momentum over recent years as evidence-based, high-impact prevention interventions have been scaled-up. Importantly, the report also demonstrated that in a very small number of countries, stalling the expansion of HIV services can reverse hard won gains.
On the path to an AIDS-free generation
In November 2012, Secretary Clinton unveiled the PEPFAR Blueprint: Creating an AIDS-free Generation, and acknowledged we possess the tools to win the war against HIV/AIDS but must aggressively implement them to continue building momentum and avoid losing ground. Just one year ago, President Obama announced accelerated PEPFAR goals to achieve an AIDS-free generation. That call to action has resonated world-wide and has inspired us all to intensify and refocus our efforts.
A focus on proven interventions
Since then, under the leadership of OGAC, CDC has mobilized its resources in Atlanta and field offices around the world to meet these goals for antiretroviral treatment, prevention of mother-to-child transmission, and voluntary medical male circumcision. Concurrently, HIV counseling and testing services are being ramped-up as the critical entry point for these interventions along with an intensified focus on reaching key populations at high-risk for HIV acquisition.
I am excited and invigorated at how far we’ve come and how far I know we can go. We have reached a historic moment – for the first time, we have the tools and leadership needed to win this fight.