Reaching the Tipping Point Against AIDS
Although AIDS did not reach epidemic status until the
early 1980s, the disease has claimed many lives since it was first detected in
the late 1950s. In the intervening years, millions of people have died
from AIDS and related illnesses, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, and
although much progress has been made in developing cost-effective antiretroviral
drugs to treat AIDS, it remains one of the world's largest public health
However, according to a recent report, the world could be
approaching a tipping point in the fight against AIDS. As more HIV-positive
people receive access to antiretroviral medications, 2015 will mark the first
year since the disease reached epidemic status that the number of people
receiving treatment will exceed the number of new infections.
Turning the Tide
In its annual
accountability report on the status of AIDS prevention and treatment programs,
nonprofit organization ONE discovered that, due to widespread and concerted
efforts to expand access to antiretroviral drugs, AIDS education and other
preventive measures, 2015
will be a historic year in the fight against AIDS.
One of the key
findings of this year's report is that the most measurable gains in combating
AIDS have been made in sub-Saharan Africa. For the second consecutive year,
lower and middle-income countries have led the way in global AIDS funding, and
16 African nations have already met the tipping point against AIDS ahead of
global targets. Ghana, Malawi and Zambia have achieved the most substantial
progress and are effectively combining domestic health care spending with
external donor resources to turn the tide against AIDS.
Although it would appear
that the "beginning of the end of AIDS" mentioned
by President Barack Obama on World AIDS Day in 2011 is in sight, a number of
significant obstacles remain in achieving this ambitious goal.
subsets of the targets identified in the report remain out of reach, most
notably reducing incidence of mother-to-child HIV transmission. Several
African nations have made great strides in this area, including Botswana,
Ethiopia and Namibia, but Angola and Nigeria face an uphill struggle in making
gains and are actually keeping the world from achieving AIDS reduction goals,
according to the report.
Similarly, international AIDS funding is viewed
as too low to meet global targets. According to the Joint United Nations
Programme on HIV/AIDS, worldwide financing remains between $3 billion and $5
billion short of the $22 billion to $24 billion needed to achieve core outcomes
on treatment and prevention of HIV and AIDS. Although this shortfall may seem
comparatively small to the overall funding goal, domestic health
spending increases are seen as insufficient to address this funding shortage,
indicating that more international support is needed.
ChildFund works in many
countries in which AIDS is prevalent, including Kenya. Despite the worldwide
gains outlined in the ONE report, millions of children's lives are impacted by
AIDS every year. In fact, according to UNICEF, 1.1
million Kenyan children were orphaned due to AIDS in 2011 alone.
Kenya and other countries, ChildFund is committed to helping orphans and
children affected by AIDS. Thanks to a matching grant of $3.5 million provided
by the United States Agency for International Development, we were able to help
improve the lives of children like Sebastian, who made an amazing
recovery from the brink of death after receiving access to antiretroviral
Today, as a teenager, Sebastian has hope for the future, but
many more children need our help. Please consider sponsoring
a child or becoming a monthly
giving partner today and help us offer children in need affected by AIDS the
chance of a healthier, happier life.