The AIDS epidemic risks resurging and spiralling out of control unless billions of extra dollars are pumped into prevention and treatment, experts warned Sunday on the eve of a major world conference.
An alarming rate of new infections, coupled with an exploding population of young people in hard-hit countries, meant the world could be steering for “a crisis of epic proportions,” said Mark Dybul, an American AIDS researcher and diplomat.
“Bad things will happen if we don’t have more money,” he told a special event organised a day before some 15,000 delegates attend the opening of the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam.
The world was “probably at the highest risk ever of losing control of this epidemic because of demographics and because of countries not paying attention the way they once did, or never did in some cases,” warned Dybul.
UNAIDS last week reported a record number of HIV-positive people using life-saving antiretroviral therapy (ARV), and lower rates of deaths and new infections — though not low enough according to campaigners, reports the Daily Mail.
And even this progress risks being overturned.
Speakers warned that donor and domestic funding has dropped significantly, and would likely continue declining.
The US is by far the biggest funder of the global AIDS response.
– Condoms work! –
According to UNAIDS executive director Michel Sidibe, there was a funding gap of almost $7 billion (about six billion euros).
“If we don’t pay now we will pay more and more later,” he told the meeting.
Experts lamented that the successful rollout of life-saving, virus-suppressing drugs may have diverted necessary attention, and cash, away from the need to curb new HIV infections.
ARVs are also increasingly being used, mainly in rich countries, to prevent contracting the virus from sex.
To meet the UN goal of ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030, infections must be limited to 500,000 per year globally in just two years’ time.
Last year’s 1.8 million new infections showed that “unless we did something completely drastic, we will not get anywhere near” the goal, said Nduku Kilonzo of Kenya’s National AIDS Control Council.
“Condoms work!” she underlined, but only when they are available.
Investment in condom distribution has dropped, and less than half the need was being covered, she said.
“We are far, far, far away from our goal of prevention, not just elimination,” Kilonzo warned. “We have a crisis and it is a prevention crisis.”
David Barr, a senior treatment advocate who is himself HIV positive, agreed that access to drugs, without prevention, “will not end AIDS”.
“When I last spoke in this conference centre in 1992, I could never have imagined that I would be standing here 26 years later alive and well,” he told delegates.
“I could never have imagined that 21 million people around the world would be on very effective HIV treatment, I could never have imagined that we will have such effective tools to prevent HIV transmission.”
Yet, the success is “incredibly fragile”, warned Barr.
“We can lose our opportunities and the tools we have created if we fail to use them effectively. If we lose them, then we’re back to the horror of 1992” when infections and deaths were skyrocketing.
In the United States, Millennials are leading the charge, bringing about an STD epidemic thank to “hookups” on Tinder social media.
HIV transmission is rarely even considered by today’s youth, thank in large part to drugs that have been able to keep infected individuals healthy despite being infected with a lethal virus.
One new drug simply increases the complacency while claiming to save lives, PrEP.
PrEP means Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, and it’s the use of anti-HIV medications to keep HIV negative people from becoming infected. PrEP is approved by the FDA and has been shown to be safe and effective at preventing HIV infection.
Even though PrEP has been around in the U.S. since 2012, a lot of people still are looking to learn about it. And, even fewer people feel like they know enough about it to be able to make an informed decision about whether or not to use it. For people using PrEP, you can’t really feel or see PrEP working when you use it- so it can help to have a mental picture of what is happening each time you take a dose.
Commercials like the one below encourage dangerous behavior, leading to the spread of other STD’s.
To make matters worse, just when an STD epidemic is spreading across America, California has chosen to decriminalize the intentional spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Now, if you knowingly expose a partner to HIV in California, the crime is a mere misdemeanor rather than a felony.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that lowers from a felony to a misdemeanor the crime of knowingly exposing a sexual partner to HIV without disclosing the infection.
Moreover, the measure is expanded to knowingly giving HIV-positive blood to a blood bank.
The extreme move is, of course, being made under the guise of tolerance.
“Today California took a major step toward treating HIV as a public health issue, instead of treating people living with HIV as criminals,” said Democratic state Sen. Scott Wiener. “HIV should be treated like all other serious infectious diseases, and that’s what SB 239 does.”
Although people still die from AIDS, exposing people to HIV without their knowledge or consent was justified because “modern medicine allows those with HIV to live longer lives and nearly eliminates the possibility of transmission,” per Weiner and Democratic Assemblyman Todd Gloria.
This move would be shocking in almost anywhere but California, but in the Land of Fruits and Nuts, good is evil, and evil is good.
One thing is for certain: those who are sexually active should begin asking new partners if they’re from California, because they could be infested with things that cannot be scrubbed off with Ajax.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
July 23rd, 2018