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Medical Group Calls for Greater Effort against HIV/AIDS

Doctors Without Borders [MSF] says the international community needs to step up. It says action is needed now to reduce the projected number of new HIV infections and deaths that could be avoided. The organization says progress continues to be made in providing access to HIV/AIDS patients in developing countries, but it’s calling for more.

Currently [according to numbers released by USAID on June 3, 2011], “there are] 6.6 million who are alive and on anti-retroviral therapy,” said Sharonann Lynch, HIV policy advisor for Doctors Without Borders in New York. “That’s the treatment that keeps people living with HIV alive. What we know now is it is also effective in reducing new HIV infections.”

World leaders need to be aggressive in making sure access to therapy is worldwide for everyone, said Lynch, adding that this will be an important issue at the UNAID summit next week.

“If you agree to scale up HIV treatment to everyone who needs it, and that number of people is 15 million, and if you reach them by 2015, you can essentially reduce the number of people dying of HIV/AID and millions of those who would otherwise be infected,” said Lynch.

“Are you going to be ambitious,” she asked, “and are your targets in this political document [to be written at the summit], going to be relevant enough to prevent 7.4 million deaths and reduce and avert 12 million new infections?”

Click on the player below to hear the Kim Lewis interview with Sharonann Lynch.