Recharting the world’s response to the AIDS pandemic

For only the second time in a decade, the United Nations is holding a “high-level” General Assembly meeting to reach consensus — and commitment — from the international community on how to respond to AIDS.

Starting today and running through Friday, those meeting at the UN headquarters in New York City face a daunting task due to a number of factors:

  1. The virus continues to spread, newly infecting thousands of people every day.
  2. In the developing world, many more people are on anti-HIV treatment (more than 6 million) than was the case a decade ago, but many more (9 million) who need the drugs aren’t yet getting them.
  3. Donors and governments are reluctant to increase funding (or even meet previously committed funding targets) to various efforts in the global AIDS response due to the economic turndown.
  4. New evidence that supports the claim that anti-HIV treatment can almost completely stop those infected from spreading the disease has caused many advocacy organizations and others to press even harder for expanding AIDS treatment — as a means to save lives but also stop the spread of the disease.

The meeting is just starting but here a few stories or op-eds out of it:

VOA: UN holding conference on global AIDS response

AFP: UN summit to set treatment target for AIDS sufferers

CNN: Don’t let up on AIDS research

NOTE: At the same time, in South Africa where HIV and AIDS has been massive, another AIDS meeting is taking place and strikes a “positive note.”

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Tom Paulson

Tom Paulson is founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere. Prior to operating this online news site, he reported on science,  medicine, health policy, aid and development for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact him at tom-at-humanosphere.org, follow him on Twitter @tompaulson and/or send a comment below.