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Achieving an AIDS Transition: Preventing Infections to Sustain Treatment

8/15/11
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“Mead Over proposes a canny model for marshaling and coordinating donor contributions to AIDS prevention and treatment in developing countries. Achieving an AIDS Transition includes prudent and detailed plans that promise to bring us all closer to a transition long overdue.”
—Paul Farmer, co-founder of Partners in Health

An unprecedented surge in donor support for HIV/AIDS treatment over the last decade has lengthened and improved the lives of millions of people living with HIV/AIDS. But because the rate of new infections outpaces the rate of AIDS-related deaths, the number of people living with AIDS—and therefore the number of people needing treatment—is growing faster than the funding needed to treat them. In 2009, about 1.8 million people died from AIDS-related illnesses while about 2.6 million were newly infected with HIV, increasing the total number of people living with HIV/AIDS by more than three-quarters of a million.

To stem the tide, health policymakers and practitioners need to organize their efforts around a single goal: achieving an AIDS transition. Only by sustaining recent reductions in mortality and bringing down the number of new infections will the total number of people with HIV finally decline. This focus would change assistance policy and practice at every level, for donor agencies, recipient governments, and health practitioners. The way forward includes using effective policies and incentives from the national to individual levels to reduce the rates of HIV infection, as well as taking advantage of the success of treatment programs to further the aims of prevention.

“Living with AIDS is clearly better than dying with AIDS. But the best outcome is to return to an AIDS-free world. Mead Over’s book provides the essential foundation for understanding the transition.”
—Paul Collier, author of The Bottom Billion

“There is an urgent need to take a long-term view on AIDS. Achieving an AIDS Transition is thought-provoking and provides an important contribution to this vital debate.”
—Peter Piot, former executive director of UNAIDS