An AIDS-Free Generation?
November 30, 2012 10:09 PM   Subscribe

December 1st is World AIDS Day

On World AIDS Day in 2011, President Obama spoke broadly of an “AIDS-free generation." How are we doing?

This week, Madame Secretary Clinton released a blueprint via PEPFAR (the Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) that aims to eliminate new HIV infections among children by 2015, improve access to testing and treatment to reduce AIDS-related mortality and enhance HIV prevention, and increase the number of circumcised males.

Globally, 2011 saw an estimated 2.5 million people newly diagnosed with HIV and 1.7 million people died from AIDS-related illnesses, rates significantly decreased compared to figures from the previous decade.
United Nations 2012 World AIDS Day Report
United Nations World AIDS Day 2012 Fact Sheet

However, there are some parts of the world in which the rates of new diagnoses have risen, including Greece, which saw a 35-fold increase in new cases of HIV in IV drug users, and 1049 new cases in the first 10 months of the year. Health care spending there has been cut because of the continuing fiscal crisis, and charities that serve populations affected by HIV have struggled to raise money.

Access to antiretroviral therapy is improving globally, but there are still nearly 7 million people who are eligible for treatment and cannot access ARV medications (WHO 2011 statistics).

On November 20, 2012, the United States Preventive Services Task Force released draft recommendations stating that clinicians should routinely test people from ages 15 to 65 for HIV infection, as well as older patients who are determined to be at increased risk.

An unacceptable fraction of people infected with HIV don’t know they are infected. Do you know your status? If not, see where you can get tested here.
posted by honeybee413 (6 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

For my beloved late partner, Tony, who lost the battle ... and for the many other friends who fought alongside him and also lost. We will never forget!
posted by ericb at 10:50 PM on November 30, 2012 [9 favorites]

I run a life skills club for girls at the rural school where I work in South Africa (a country which has an atrociously high rate of people infected with HIV), and for World AIDS Day this year we did some lessons on stigma and the kids wrote poems about HIV, which has certainly affected them all in some way.

On one hand the stigma is really intense because even though something like 20-30 percent of women in some impoverished areas are infected, almost no one identifies themselves as HIV positive. I was discussing how many funerals we have here in the village with one of my colleagues, and he had this long list of reasons for it, none of which were AIDS... But in the shadows there's all this gossip from the adults about anyone who looses a lot of weight or is sickly.

Anyway, on the other hand, I was encouraged by the passionate poems the kids wrote, and how willing they were to talk about the importance of safe sex and getting tested and not ostracising people who do have HIV. These are 6th and 7th graders incidentally. I think there are a lot of South African orgs and individuals who have done a great job getting conversations started. There even are (token...) HIV positive characters on popular TV shows like Generations and Sesame Takalani. Plus there are activists out there like David Patient, who has been HIV positive for 30 years and is so inspirational, talking about how the disease doesn't need to be the death sentence people see it as.

An AIDS-Free Generation is a nice rallying goal, but I would just be thrilled if this generation of children can overcome stigma.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 12:26 AM on December 1, 2012 [4 favorites]

About a year ago, the CDC's Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) got a HUGE budget slash from $40 million to $30 million for school-based HIV prevention programs. A lot of the funding goes to training teachers in how to effectively teach sex education. Young people make up about 1/3 of new HIV infections, and it's just unbelievable that they made these cuts. "AIDS-free generation" my ASS.

Here's a fact sheet that can tell you more about DASH than I can.
posted by Stewriffic at 5:50 AM on December 1, 2012

For Dickie, Scott, Dori, Morgan and Fred. I miss you all.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:31 AM on December 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 9:58 AM on December 1, 2012

posted by Aquifer at 7:49 PM on December 1, 2012

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