World AIDS Day: Highlights from 2010
It has been a busy year for HIV/AIDS research and policy. Here are some of the most important developments of 2010:
Global Funding for AIDS Declining
-UNAIDS reported this summer that support from developed nations to low-income countries for HIV/AIDS declined slightly from 2008 to 2009, raising alarm about sustaining treatment and prevention efforts during a global recession.
The NewsHour looked at the problem of funding treatment for an ever-expanding population of patients on a recent trip to Mozambique:
-The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, one of the largest providers of funds for HIV/AIDS work, was also unable to reach its fundraising goals in October for the next few years.
New Hope for Preventing HIV Infections
2010 was a big year for advancements in HIV prevention, after many years of disappointment in the field.
-A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine in November found that regular doses of an antiretroviral combination called Truvada helped protect healthy gay men from contracting HIV. The medicine reduced infections by between 44 and 90 percent, depending on the level of adherence.
-In July, a study carried out in South Africa showed a vaginal gel microbicide could cut the chances of a woman getting HIV by 39 percent.The gel could provide a method of HIV prevention that a woman could use without the knowledge of her partner if necessary.
-Meanwhile the search for the key to HIV immunity continued through various research efforts, including the study of HIV elites, people who are HIV positive but never progress to having AIDS. The NewsHour reported on this population during a trip to Peru:
-The Vatican also contributed to the prevention message this year, saying for the first time that use of a condom is a lesser evil than transmitting HIV.
-AIDS leaders put out a call for the elimination of another type of transmission–from mother to child– by 2015 this year, through the use of prevention programs for pregnant women around the globe.
Watch a NewsHour web video from Mozambique on stopping mother to child transmission:
U.S. Changes HIV Policies
-President Barack Obama released the first-ever national AIDS strategy in July, setting the goal of reducing the annual number of new H.I.V. infections by 25 percent within five years.
-Legislation ending a 22-year ban on anyone infected with HIV entering the United States went into effect in January. The next International AIDS Conference will be held in Washington, D.C., in 2012. The U.S. has not hosted the conference since 1990 due to the travel ban.