It’s World AIDS Day, a day we’ve been marking for decades. Millions of people are still dying of AIDS every year, two people still getting infected every day for every person put on treatment.
But this year, it’s different.
“It’s night and day, at least when it comes to prevention,” said Dr. Stefano Bertozzi, director of HIV and tuberculosis programs at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “The landscape has shifted dramatically.”
Progess has been made in reducing the rate of new HIV infections through education, safe sex campaigns and the like. The world community has succeeded in getting more people on life-saving treatments. But the pandemic continues worldwide, with numbers (33 million infected, nearly 2 million dying every year) that are daunting if not mind-numbing. Continue reading
They’re a funny bunch, those PATH folks. I gave them credit for having long been advocates for an anti-HIV microbicide … and they take exception!
Here is a response from Dr. Chris Elias, president and CEO of PATH:
I think you have given PATH–and me–a bit too much credit, however. The recently announced results were the result of the vision and hard work of many people and institutions, most notably Salim Karim and Quarraisha Abdool Karim of CAPRISA, the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa.
So far, the best news out of the 2010 International AIDS Conference in Vienna was the report issued Monday that an experimental vaginal gel containing a small amount of an anti-HIV drug was fairly effective at preventing HIV infection in women.
It is the first effective anti-AIDS microbicide, a tool designed to help women protect themselves against HIV.
Microbicides — the word itself and an advocacy movement aimed at promoting the concept — were originated in the 1990s by two people, Lori Heise and Chris Elias, both of whom brought their passion for women’s health issues to Seattle-based PATH. Continue reading