A milestone has been reached in the fight against HIV/AIDS, with now half of those infected with HIV across the world now taking medication to treat the virus.
The flow on effects are obvious, with treatment stopping HIV spreading. However concerns remain over the ongoing ability of health care systems in some countries to keep up the funding for HIV treatments, particularly with Trump's US considering slashing UN contributions that fund the HIV health care.
As always cutting funding to HIV/AIDS programs is a false economy, with the cost of treating new infections down the track being much more expensive. HIV drugs are expensive, and you have to take them for life to survive. However they make it very hard for the HIV virus to be passed on. The whole idea of ending HIV is to get everyone on meds and massively reduce new infections. Even the bean counters should understand that.
For the first time in the global AIDS epidemic that has spanned four decades and killed 35 million people, more than half of all those infected with HIV are on drugs to treat the virus, the United Nations said in a report released Thursday.
AIDS deaths are also now close to half of what they were in 2005, according to the U.N. AIDS agency, although those figures are based on estimates and not actual counts from countries.
Experts applauded the progress, but questioned if the billions spent in the past two decades should have brought more impressive results. The U.N. report was released in Paris where an AIDS meeting begins this weekend.
“When you think about the money that’s been spent on AIDS, it could have been better,” said Sophie Harman, a senior lecturer in global health politics at Queen Mary University in London.
She said more resources might have gone to strengthening health systems in poor countries.
“The real test will come in five to 10 years once the funding goes down,” Harman said, warning that some countries might not be able to sustain the U.N.-funded AIDS programs on their own.
The Trump administration has proposed a 31 percent cut in contributions to the U.N. starting in October. AP