Not very long ago, it would have been hard to imagine that there would ever be an AIDS-free generation. Now we’re moving toward it with remarkable partnerships all over the world.
This year, 13 million people around the world are receiving life-saving AIDS drugs and treatment, including 8.2 million with access to lower prices as a result of negotiations by the Clinton Health Access Initiative. Mother to child transmissions are down in many countries, more children are on treatment, and health systems in developing nations are being improved to advance both prevention and treatment. None of this could have been achieved without the work and commitment of caring people around the globe, including colleagues and friends who died when Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crashed in July en route to the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne.
But there is still so much to do. This year roughly 1.5 million individuals died of HIV-related illnesses, and over 2 million were newly infected.
UNAIDS launched new targets in 2014 – that by 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their status, 90% of those diagnosed will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy, and 90% of those receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression. While these are ambitious goals, we believe they can be achieved and will remain committed to doing our part.
The theme of this year’s World AIDS Day is right on target: “Focus, Partner, Achieve: an AIDS-free generation.” If we remain steadfast in our dedication to finding smart ways to work together, we will prevail.
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