40 Years On - Four Action Points to End AIDS As a Health Threat

A short report about five cases of pneumocystis pneumonia in young homosexual men in Los Angeles on  June, 5 1981 marked the discovery of AIDS, the first pandemic of the 20th century caused by a completely new virus, HIV, writes Gilles Van Cutsem, Honorary Research Associate, Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Research at the University of Cape Town for The Conversation. Since then, HIV has killed 33 million people and infected 76 million. Of the 38 million people living with HIV, 27 million are now on life-saving treatment. But the UNAIDS 2020 target of ensuring that 30 million people would be on treatment by 2020 was not reached. In fact, not one of the 2020 targets has been achieved. In 2020, there were 1.5 million new infections, three times the target of 500,000, and 690,000 deaths were reported, almost 200,000 more than the target of 500,000. Van Cutsem has suggestions for four action points that are essential to put the HIV response back on track.


Members of the public light candles in remembrance of those who have died of HIV/Aids at a symbolic grave during a 2020 World Aids Day event in Kenya.

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