Lawrence K. Altman, The New York Times
A World Without AIDS, Still Worlds AwayAugust 6, 2012 By Wilson Center Staff
The original version of this article, by Lawrence K. Altman, appeared on The New York Times.
Is the world on the verge of ending the AIDS epidemic and creating an AIDS-free generation, even though a cure and a vaccine are still distant hopes?Yes, roared enthusiasts among the nearly 24,000 participants at the 19th International AIDS Conference here last week. Their hopes are based on the extraordinary scientific gains made since the conference was last held in the United States, 22 years ago, when an AIDS diagnosis was a sure death sentence.
Among those gains: antiretroviral drug combinations for women to prevent infection of their newborns; drugs to treat and prevent infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, among adults; and evidence that voluntary male circumcision can reduce the risk of female-to-male transmission by 50 to 60 percent.
Today, HIV has become a chronic disease that, if treated appropriately, can be held at bay in a newly infected young adult for decades — if the patient adheres to the rigid daily drug regimen.
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Lawrence K. Altman is a senior scholar for the Woodrow Wilson Center’s United States Studies Program.
Photo Credit: “Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton speaks at the International AIDS Conference,” courtesy of Roxana Bravo/World Bank.