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20 Jul 2018

AIDS 2018: HIV and AIDS response at risk of dangerous complacency

Global HIV experts issued a warning in a Lancet Commission that unless an urgent change to the HIV response is made including an increase to funding, a resurgence of the epidemic is likely.

Led by the International AIDS Society, the Commission reports the HIV pandemic is not on track to end by 2030 and current approaches to HIV control are inadequate.

There is up to 38.8 million people living with HIV worldwide, in 2015 around two million new cases were diagnosed and in 2016 there were one million AIDS-related deaths.

Doherty Institute Director, Professor Sharon Lewin joined 40 international experts to make recommendations for how HIV and global health can work together to improve the HIV response.

They recommended that HIV researchers and healthcare professionals work more closely  with global health workers, HIV services become integrated into wider health services and incorporating HIV into global health policies.

Professor Lewin said the stalling of HIV funding in recent years and ongoing new infections in high-risk marginalised populations could halt the progress made towards ending the epidemic.

“More than 35 million people have died of AIDS-related causes since the start of the epidemic, and it is the fourth leading cause of death for adolescent girls and young women in sub-Saharan Africa,” she said.

“The achievements from the HIV response globally have been significant and much of the capacity and infrastructure developed for HIV in low income settings can be leveraged for our response to other communicable and non-communicable diseases. This is a great opportunity. But HIV is not over and an increase investment is needed.”

The authors have called on HIV and global health researchers, healthcare professionals and policy makers to work together to improve the HIV response.

“Working together is essential to achieve the end of HIV by 2030. We have called for immediate increased funding to avert another epidemic,” Professor Lewin said.

The Commission is being officially launched AIDS 2018 in Amsterdam on 26 July.

CLICK HERE to read more about the Lancet Commission, Getting Back on Track: Modelling a More Integrated HIV Response.