HIV / AIDS
When the Millennium Development Goals were established, ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic seemed like an unattainable goal. Since then, we have made great strides, reducing new HIV infections by 40%, down from an estimated 3.5 million cases in 2000 to 2.1 million by 2013, and increasing the number of people receiving antiretroviral treatment from only 800,000 in 2003 to 12.6 million by 2014.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic can be feasibly ended within our lifetime with the arsenal of tools and resources currently available. However, there is a short window to change the trajectory of the epidemic as the number of people newly infected continues to outpace the number of people initiating treatment. Providing treatment for all 37 million people currently living with HIV is key to our approach in stemming the epidemic. In addition to the life-saving benefits of treatment, placing an HIV-positive person on treatment reduces their viral load to undetectable levels, making it nearly impossible to pass on the virus.
Treatment for all
In September 2015, WHO issued new HIV treatment guidelines expanding treatment eligibility to all people diagnosed HIV-positive as soon as diagnosed. According to UNAIDS, only 15 million of the 37 million people living with HIV are currently on treatment. If the global community stays the course of current funding trends for treatment, we risk a cumulative 100 million HIV infections by 2030.
Spurred by the need to immediately implement the WHO guidelines, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) *link to PEPFAR site, supported by the Office of the Special Envoy, launched the Treatment For All campaign to catalyze global movement to make more efficient use of existing resources and support critical policy changes in high HIV-burden countries. Together, by prioritizing and fast-tracking treatment, the world can collectively support the shared vision of 28 million men, women and children on treatment by 2020—nearly twice as many as today. This would reduce the number of AIDS deaths and new HIV infections by 50%, respectively, in the next 5 years and put the world on a trajectory to reach the HIV/AIDS targets of Agenda 2030.
Born Free, a project of the Global Health Alliance and the Special Envoy’s Office, in partnership with the Institute for Global Health Delivery and Diplomacy, leads efforts to eliminate mother-to-child-transmission of HIV. The team invests its time and business acumen to significantly accelerate progress toward a generation born HIV-free in the sub-Saharan African countries most affected by investing in local talent who work behind the scenes to drive change within their own governments.