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Though Progress Made, Global Burden Of HIV/AIDS Requires Greater, ‘Better’ Response

“Optimism and momentum has been building around the real possibility that an AIDS-free generation is imminent. … Yet, the most recent estimates of HIV prevalence and incidence and of AIDS-related mortality released by UNAIDS, together with data from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 in the Lancet, make it clear that AIDS is not over,” UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe; Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; and Mark Dybul, incoming executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, write in a Lancet opinion piece. The Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 and UNAIDS data “highlight a persistent, significant, and egregious burden of avoidable death,” the authors write, noting global statistics and recent success in reducing the number of AIDS-related deaths and incidence rates worldwide.

“To consolidate and intensify the accomplishments of the past decade, and to save millions of lives now in jeopardy, we must confront four realities,” the authors state. “First, it will be impossible to sustain current efforts to tackle HIV and AIDS with current levels of funding”; “Second, there is an urgent need to approach investments in a more strategic manner”; “Third, synergies within the health sector must be aggressively pursued”; and, “Fourth, we need to recognize that the nature and methods of community mobilization and political leadership, which are so critical to the success of the AIDS response, have changed,” they write and expand on each point. “Thus, while much progress has been made in treatment and prevention, the persistent and substantial global burden associated with HIV and AIDS compels us to do more — and do better — to achieve the AIDS-free generation the world is waiting for,” they conclude (12/15).