Bioethics News

HIV/AIDS Is the end near?

A necessary step to try to end AIDS is to prevent HIV infection. In relation to this, Julio Montaner, a leading HIV/AIDS expert, stated in a recent article that “prevention of HIV infection could be increased if 100% of individuals with HIV were treated, which could drastically reduce the transmission of this virus“. This is what he calls “treatment as prevention“.

This concept was proposed in 2011, when it was reported that immediate treatment of HIV-positive people with antiretrovirals reduces transmission of the infection by up to 96%, which lends support to the suggestion that if this type of treatment were extended to all infected persons (even though they had yet to develop AIDS), the likelihood of it progressing would be drastically reduced.

In 2003, Jim Kim, now president of the World Bank, but then Director General of the World Health Organization, proposed an initiative, which was the possibility of treating 3 million HIV positive persons per year with antiretrovirals. At that time, this idea seemed almost impossible. However, in August the same year, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) reported that at the end of 2013, 12.9 million persons would be receiving antiretroviral treatment worldwide. UNAIDS is now proposing new, more ambitious objectives, chief among them what they call 90/90/90, for 2020. This means that 90% of infected people will know their HIV status; that 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive antiretroviral therapy; and that the virus will have disappeared in 90% of patients who receive it.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.