News / Health

Leading Researcher Says AIDS is Stoppable

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sept. 29, 2009.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sept. 29, 2009.
Carol PearsonMelinda Smith
WASHINGTON – The theme of the 2012 International AIDS Conference is “Turning the Tide Together.”  The opening speaker, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has spent much of his career leading AIDS research in the United States at the National Institutes of Health.  He spoke recently with VOA’s Carol Pearson before the AIDS Conference got underway and explained how the tide of the AIDS epidemic is being turned.

DR. FAUCI: “Well, in 2012 we’ve reached a point where the science has given us a number of interventions, particularly in the form of treatment and prevention of HIV, that if in fact we scale up the implementation of these by making treatment available by aggressively testing people, linking them to care, getting them on treatment, by implementing some of the prevention modalities particularly in the developing world, like circumcision or treatment as prevention, pre-exposure prophylaxis, prevention of mother to child transmission, that we have an opportunity now that we never had before because of the number of interventions that have proven to be efficacious, to actually tip the tide of the epidemic in the sense of the trajectory of the epidemic.  For a long time it had been going up and then it started to flatten.

What we really need to do to end the AIDS pandemic is to turn the deflection of that curve so that it goes in the direction of fewer and fewer people getting infected, fewer and fewer people dying, and fewer and fewer children being born with HIV.  That's what we mean by 'turning the tide,' and this is an important meeting in Washington, D.C., because it's at this gathering that a lot of people are going to get together and talk about the feasibility of actually implementing this turning of the tide."
 
CAROL PEARSON:  So at this point, are you seeing more people getting infected than there are medicines to treat them?
 
DR. FAUCI:  "Yes.  That’s the problem.  Right now we - a few years ago - had very few people in the developing world receiving therapy.  Right now, in low and middle income countries, there are close to seven million people who are receiving anti-viral therapies. That's the good news.  The sobering news is that, for every person that you put on therapy, two people get newly infected.  So we still need to ratchet up our prevention modalities at the same time as we try to get as many people who need to be on therapy on therapy.  One of the great breakthroughs over the past year and a half has been the realization that when you treat people early in the course of their disease, as opposed to waiting until their disease becomes advanced, that not only do you save and benefit the lives of the people who you put on therapy, but you decrease by an astounding 96 percent the likelihood that that infected person will infect their uninfected sexual partner. So, you really get two for the price of one: You save someone’s life who is infected and you prevent them from infecting other people.  And it’s the implementation of this treatment-as-prevention program - which is getting people very hopeful - that will be able to turn the tide of the epidemic."
 
CAROL PEARSON:  Male circumcision has been found to be highly effective in preventing transmission. What other kinds of things have been?

DR. FAUCI:  "Well, you mention male circumcision.  That’s very important because male circumcision early on in the trials that were done first in South Africa and then in Kenya and in Uganda showed that it was anywhere between 50 and 60 percent efficacious in preventing the acquisition of HIV...

"Now we know that five years out from those studies, the results are even better than they were in the early part of the studies. So now, [data show that it is] between 70 and 75 percent effective in preventing the acquisition of infection in the circumcised individual. So male circumcision is clearly emerging as a highly effective way to prevent HIV infection."

CAROL PEARSON: Are we any closer to a vaccine?

DR. FAUCI: We are closer to a vaccine now than we were several years ago, although you can't predict how long it's going to take for us to get a vaccine, but we are much more optimistic that we ultimately will achieve that goal."

You May Like

FIFA Indictments Put Gold Cup Tournament Under Cloud

Experts say US indictments could lead to charges of other world soccer officials, and lead to major shakeup in sport's governance More

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

At a recent even in Seoul, border communities promoted benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared stories of life since the war More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows Fight to Death With IS

In wide-ranging interview, Fuad Masum describes new type of fight that will take time to win More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: gngsta from: saint kilda
July 21, 2012 8:55 PM
Assuming we have a vaccine or cure tomorrow, based on the time to implement those measures widely throughout the world, it's clear we will not see an end to it in our lifetime and it's pretty clear that our children won't see the end of this epidemic in their lifetime. So said David Ho Aids treatment pioneer - May 30, 2006 The Age of Aids

by: sam from: redmond
July 21, 2012 8:12 PM
just what the drug companies don't want to hear.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs