Monday, July 11, 2016

Austrailia HIV/AIDS Experts Say AIDS Epidemic Is 'Over'

Australia's top HIV/AIDS researchers and organizations have declared the AIDS epidemic (not the disease itself) is 'over.'

As the number of actual AIDS diagnoses have continued to drop to very low numbers, the Australian Federation of AIDS Organizations has pronounced the disease is now seen as beaten in terms of being manageable.

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

"AIDS is over in the way we knew it," he said. "We've got access to treatment that has had extraordinary effect, and community activism since the very early years of AIDS in the '80s and '90s has helped the efforts to fight it."

Professor Sharon Lewin, director of the Peter Doherty Institute, told the ABC that anti-retroviral medications had been crucial to the epidemic's decline, allowing people diagnosed with HIV to live healthy, long lives.

"I've actually seen a dramatic transformation of HIV from a universal death sentence to now a chronic, manageable disease," Professor Lewin said.

However, Mr O'Donnell said Australia still has a major challenge in addressing HIV. "We still have a huge task in dealing with the 1100 to 1200 cases of HIV per year," he said. "These are avoidable infections."

He said he expected the pre-exposure prophylaxis Truvada, a once-a-day pill taken to prevent HIV, to be a game-changer comparable to the impact of the contraceptive pill.

"We need urgent action from the Australian government to subsidise this pill," he said, adding that Truvada would see HIV cases halved in a year.

(h/t JMG)

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