Health experts’ take on ending AIDS

Two health experts share their thoughts on what it would really take to end AIDS. Photo by: lusciousblopster / CC BY-NC-SA

There’s renewed optimism within the international community toward the achievement of an AIDS-free generation. But what will it really take to end this decadeslong epidemic?

Scaled-up financing, better coordination and an “expanded political will,” ONE Policy Manager for Health Erin Hohlfelder says in the first of a series of blog posts co-produced by Impatient Optimists and The Skoll World Forum. Without these, she argues, “millions of lives will hang in the balance.”

With UNAIDS estimating the AIDS funding gap at between $6 billion and $8 billion, donors need to sustain financial support or scale up resources through innovative means. All African countries also need to follow through their commitments in Abuja to increase government funding for health up to 15 percent, Hohlfelder adds.

Donors, nongovernmental organizations and recipient countries need to outline their programs and financial contributions toward achieving global AIDS targets as well, such as zero HIV transmission from mothers to their children. And strong financial support for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria at the organization’s fourth replenishment meeting in 2013 will show just how serious the international development community is in ending this epidemic, she notes.

Highlighting progress could encourage stakeholders as well to sustain investments in the fight against HIV and AIDS, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Stefano Bertozzi says in another blog post.

“Advocates can play a critical role in strengthening support for AIDS funding by reminding their leaders not only of the moral imperative to sustain this successful fight, but also of the huge social and economic value that their investments in HIV are delivering every day,” Bertozzi, director of HIV in the foundation’s global health program, explains.

He notes a “vaccine candidate” for HIV and the increasing recognition of male circumcision as valuable tools in reducing HIV acquisition and transmission. Research has shown that such a practice reduces an adult man’s chances of getting infected by at least 60 percent.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.