Conquering AIDS

September 18, 2012 • Volume 6, Issue 18
Will the world spend enough to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS?
By Barbara Mantel


Demonstrators call for a small tax on financial transactions (Getty Images/Spencer Platt)
Demonstrators in New York City last December call for a small tax on financial transactions, which they say could raise hundreds of billions of dollars — enough to virtually halt the spread of HIV/AIDS. Although the U.N., AIDS advocacy groups and the European Commission support such a levy, the U.K. and United States oppose it. (Getty Images/Spencer Platt)

Attendees at an international AIDS conference in Washington, D.C., this summer celebrated three global statistics: Since 2002 the AIDS-related death toll has fallen by 10 percent, new HIV infections are down 13 percent and more than 8 million people in low- and middle-income countries are receiving HIV drug therapy — a 20-fold jump since 2003. Conferees also heard a striking message: Recent breakthroughs in prevention provide an unprecedented opportunity to halt the deadly pandemic in its tracks. According to scientists, early treatment of HIV-infected patients can virtually eliminate the risk of transmitting the virus to sexual partners, and treating HIV-negative people at high risk of contracting the virus reduces infection rates. But adopting those two strategies globally would be hugely expensive, and nearly 8 million HIV-positive patients eligible for drug therapy now aren't getting it due to lack of funding. Some physicians, policy makers and AIDS activists also question giving symptom-free and virus-free people drugs with potentially toxic side effects.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
AIDS/HIV and Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Sep. 18, 2012  Conquering AIDS
Oct. 2009  Rescuing Children
Oct. 26, 2007  Battling HIV/AIDS
Dec. 03, 2004  Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Oct. 13, 2000  Global AIDS Crisis
Dec. 04, 1998  AIDS Update
Apr. 21, 1995  Combating AIDS
Dec. 25, 1992  Women and AIDS
Oct. 06, 1989  Good News and Bad About Aids
Dec. 16, 1988  AIDS Update
Nov. 06, 1987  AIDS Dilemmas
Aug. 09, 1985  AIDS: Spreading Mystery Disease
Jan. 19, 1979  Venereal Disease: Continuing Problem
Jun. 10, 1960  Venereal Disease Control
Jan. 09, 1943  Venereal Disease in the Armed Forces
Oct. 25, 1938  Control of Venereal Diseases