The world is at a tipping point in the fight against HIV/Aids with the number of people getting treatment set to be greater than those being newly diagnosed. But have we really reached the beginning of the end?
Considering the first World Aids Day took place 25 years ago in 1988, it’s a remarkable achievement. Today, there are about 35million people with HIV and Aids in the world, with 9.7million receiving treatment that can enable a long and healthy life.
Ten years ago, just 300,000 people received such treatment so it’s clear there have been major gains, and although experts, campaigners and health practitioners are buoyed the ‘tipping point’ is on the horizon, hard work lies ahead. Erin Hohlfelder, global health policy director of the One Foundation and author of its report The Beginning Of The End?’, feels reaching the tipping point will be a landmark in the fight against HIV and Aids. ‘The disease has been outpacing us for decades, with more new infections than people being added to treatment.
‘To use an analogy, if you had five cuts on your hand, we’ve only had one plaster to treat the cuts, so you’re still bleeding,’ she said.
‘The tipping point, where we have more people living healthy lives through treatment for HIV, than newly infected people, means we’ve caught up with the disease and begun to get ahead of it, so it’s a critical moment. It’s a marker that signals for the first time HIV and Aids is on a downward curve,’ said Ms Hohlfelder.
Great infographic – and potentially good news. But as I have told my students repeatedly since the mid-1980s, this is a long. slow pandemic – and we are only just over halfway through it.
There’s still a long way to go.
See on metro.co.uk