News / Health

Struggle Against AIDS Makes Progress But More Gains Needed

Romanian volunteers hold their hands forming a red ribbon, the anti-AIDS symbol, during an awareness rally two days before World AIDS day, in central Bucharest, Romania, November 29, 2011.
Romanian volunteers hold their hands forming a red ribbon, the anti-AIDS symbol, during an awareness rally two days before World AIDS day, in central Bucharest, Romania, November 29, 2011.
Vidushi Sinha

As communities around the globe mark World AIDS Day December 1, HIV infection rates in some parts of the world are surging, and remaining "stubbornly steady" in many other regions. At the same time, more effective prevention strategies and progress toward an HIV vaccine are generating new hope for what U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently called "an AIDS-free generation."

“The goal of an AIDS-free generation may be ambitious, but it is possible,” said Clinton.

Speaking at a Washington forum, she called on global health experts, scientists, and advocates to redouble their efforts.

The stakes are high. AIDS - a disease associated with the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus - HIV - has killed 30 million people over the past three decades. Another 34 million people around the world are currently living with HIV infections.

Scientists working to control the epidemic say the fight against AIDS is difficult because the virus that causes it is complex - and tenacious.

“The fact is that once you are infected with HIV, it incorporates into your genetic material. The virus has a trick that it kind of permanently attaches itself to our genetic material. And that means that it’s very difficult to get rid of," said Rick King, vice-president of vaccine design at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, a public-private partnership.

King said an effective vaccine against HIV could be ready within five years, though hurdles remain.

“Millions of viruses are circulating at one time and they are different enough that a vaccine needs to take those differences into account. We need to find vaccines that will block all those thousands of circulating strains,” said King.

A recent UN report says better prevention and drug treatment programs are reducing AIDS-related deaths and global HIV infection rates.  But in some regions, said UNAIDS executive director Michel Sidibe, the data show the epidemic is surging.

"I think the most serious areas remain Eastern Europe and Central Asia, where the report is showing that in 10 years, we have an increase by 250 percent in the number of new infections," said Sidibe.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said there's a simple explanation for such disparities: high-risk human behavior.

"Injection-drug use, the use of selling sex for drugs - it's all a perfect incubation pot for the spread of HIV. So it isn’t an even, well-distributed incidence, prevalence, deaths, etcetera. Some countries are up and some countries are down,” said Fauci.

Sidibe said South Africa is a good example of a nation trying to get its AIDS epidemic under control:

"[They] tested more than 14 million people and reduced the price of a drug by 52 percent and increased the number of people on treatment," said Sidibe.

While public health experts applaud the progress made in controlling HIV/AIDS, they say more support from donor countries and better use of resources by host nations will be needed to end the epidemic and meet the goal of an AIDS-free generation.


You May Like

Photogallery Oxfam: Ebola Could Be 'Disaster of Our Generation'

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba, says the Caribbean island nation will 'gladly cooperate' with the US in the fight against Ebola in West Africa More

Multimedia Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

Refugees receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed More

India’s Ruling Nationalist Party Makes Gains in Regional Elections

Bharatiya Janata Party’s huge margin over its rivals puts it on course to form governments in the northern Haryana and western Maharashtra states More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fighti
X
Zana Omer
October 18, 2014 6:37 PM
The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.
Video

Video Church for Atheists Goes Global

Atheists, by definition, do not believe in God. So they should have no need of a church. But two years ago, a pair of British stand-up comedians decided to create one. Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans told the BBC they envisioned “something like church but without God". Their “Sunday Assembly” movement has grown from a single congregation in London to dozens of churches around the world. Reporter Mike Osborne visited with the members of a Sunday Assembly that now meets regularly in Nashville.
Video

Video Robot Locates Unexploded Underwater Mines

Many educators believe that hands-on experience is the best way to learn. Proving that the method works is a project developed by a group of students at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey. They rose up to a challenge posted by the U.S. Department of Defense and successfully designed and built an underwater robot for locating submerged unexploded ordnance. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's JFK Hospital Reopens After Temporary Ebola Exposure

JFK Hospital is Liberia’s largest and one of its oldest medical facilities. The hospital had to close temporarily following the deaths of two leading doctors from Ebola. It is now getting back on its feet, with the maternity ward being the first section to reopen. Benno Muchler has more for VOA News from Monrovia.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Expose Generation Gap

Most of the tens of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong are students seeking democracy. Idealistic youths say while the older generation worries about the present, they are fighting for the territory's future. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Hong Kong.
Video

Video Liberians Living in US Struggle From Afar as Ebola Ravages Homeland

More than 8,000 Liberians live in New York City, more than in any other city outside of Liberia itself. As VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports, with the Ebola virus ravaging their homeland, there is no peace of mind for these New Yorkers.
Video

Video Kurds See War-Ravaged Kobani As Political, Emotional Heartland

Intense fighting is continuing between Islamic State militants -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- and Kurdish forces around the Syrian town of Kobani, on the Turkish border. The U.S. said it carried out at least nine airstrikes against Islamic State positions Friday. Meanwhile the U.N. has warned that hundreds of civilians would be massacred if the town falls to the militants. Henry Ridgwell looks at the strategic significance of the city.

All About America

AppleAndroid