Combination HIV prevention can avert 12 million cases by 2015

August 6th, 2008 - 12:50 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 6 (IANS) Combination HIV prevention, if thoroughly implemented by governments and communities, can avert 12 million infections by 2015, according to experts. Right now, some 7,000 people are infected daily around the world. A report authored by Peter Piot and Michael Bartos of the joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, Geneva said a quarter century of AIDS responses has created vast knowledge about HIV transmission and prevention, yet some 7,000 people are infected daily worldwide.

“If combination prevention is intensified as rapidly as possible from today, then some 12 million fewer HIV infections will occur if incidence at today’s levels remains constant, and the annual number of new infections in 2015 will have reduced by two-thirds.”

Essential programmes have not had sufficient funding or coverage, and such programmes have often not been targeted to the populations that need them most.

The authors called for confident and unified leadership to overcome the political, cultural, and logistic barriers to effective HIV prevention.

This includes mustering support for proven interventions such as the frank education of young people, harm reduction policies for injecting drug use, and including sexual minorities in HIV programmes.

International institutions, national governments and community activists must work together to build demand for HIV prevention. Support must be rallied in every area possible, including workplaces, schools, communities and places of worship.

An active coalition between the movement for HIV prevention and the movement of people living with HIV/AIDS should also be created and linked with other social movements such as treatment activists, entrepreneurs, and women’s and youth activists.

The authors urged scientists, research bankrollers and programme planners to broaden the HIV-prevention research agenda, in particular through a greater focus on operational research to help guide optimum programme scale-up.

The report appeared in British medical journal The Lancet.

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