AIDS Summit Target 15 million people for HIV treatment by 2015

Médecins Sans Frontières Australia has commended the UN AIDS Summit meeting’s proposed plan to try and treat up to 15 million people with AIDS in the next 4 years. Though this figure is seen as an admirable target, their are concerns that unless new funding is found, alongside more affordable drugs, this target may be completely unachievable.

New research has shown that HIV treatment is also a good form of prevention, with a 96% reduction in the risk of transmission of HIV from one person. So, by expanding treatment, this could also help reduce by more than half the number of new infections by 2015. To do so though, an additional $6 billion must be found each year until 2015, and if it is, up to twelve million infections and  seven million deaths could be averted by 2020.

Policy/advocacy director of Médecins Sans Frontières, Michelle Childs, said –

Without affordable medicines, access to treatment cannot become a reality. Over six million people are on treatment today, largely because generic production drove the price of the first generation of AIDS medicines down by 99% since 2000. This success can only be repeated with newer and more potent medicines if barriers to-low cost drug production are removed. But countries are making promises to treat AIDS in one meeting and working hard to keep prices out of reach behind closed doors in other meetings. This double-speak has to stop.

Médecins Sans Frontières currently provides treatment to some 170,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in 19 countries across the globe.  More affordable medicine must be high on governments agendas to help the battle against more cases. If free trade agreements can be negotiated between the US, the EU and developing countries, further barriers can be broken in the search for affordable new medicines to stop and treat the AIDS epidemic that is prevalent in many third world countries.

HIV/AIDS Policy Advisor for Médecins Sans Frontières, Sharonann Lynch, said –

By agreeing to expand HIV treatment to 15 million people in four years, governments are committing to take the latest science that treatment is prevention and turn it into policies that save lives and can stop the virus. The clock starts now – everyday, we need to get more people on treatment than the day before.

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