This World AIDS Day marks a critical moment in the global response to HIV and AIDS.
Huge progress has been made since HIV was first identified over 30 years ago. 8 million people across the developing world are now accessing life-saving HIV treatment, compared to just 400,000 in 2003. AIDS-related deaths are declining, from a peak of 2.2 million in the mid-2000s, to 1.8 million in 2010. And we have treatment available which prevents almost all babies from being born with HIV.
Yet, over 7 million people still have no access to treatment. The 1.8 million deaths in 2010 are 1.8 million too many, which could have been prevented had treatment been available. And because people couldn’t access the right services, 330,000 babies were still born with HIV in 2011.
I could go on. We have achieved so much, but there is still so much further to go.
As Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of UNAIDS, remarked yesterday: “The AIDS response broke the conspiracy of silence around HIV. Now we face a new conspiracy: that the job is done.”
We are at a time of unprecedented opportunity in the global AIDS response. We have the ‘know-how’ to bring about a tipping point in the epidemic – increasing the number of people accessing treatment, and reducing the number of people getting HIV in the first place. Using this could avert 12.2 million new infections, and 7.4 million AIDS-related deaths by 2020.
That’s why this World AIDS Day, we’re asking Why Stop Now?
We’re calling on the UK to announce they will develop a blueprint, showing how they will ensure the world reaches the tipping point in the epidemic before it’s too late. Please visit www.whystopnow.org and join us in asking David Cameron for a blueprint.
You can make a difference – join our conversation. Talk to your MP, tell your friends or make some noise online. For HIV and AIDS, we have come too far to turn back now. Find us on Twitter @stopaids and don’t forget to use #whystopnow
This World AIDS Day: Why Stop Now?