Ending the HIV/AIDS pandemic and achieving an AIDS-free generation will require optimizing the implementation of existing HIV prevention and treatment tools as well as discovering new ones, according to a new commentary from Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., and colleagues at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.
In particular, the authors write, the global community must engage in public health efforts and research to
- Make HIV treatments available to more people and increase the proportion of patients who are treated successfully
- Discover new or improved drugs for treating HIV and better tools for managing patients on therapy
- Increase the number of people tested for HIV infection so that treatment can be offered to a greater proportion of those infected, thereby improving the health of individuals while curbing HIV transmission in the community
- Improve the implementation of combinations of HIV prevention tools, including fostering adherence to prophylactic HIV drug regimens and increasing demand for voluntary medical male circumcision
- Continue work toward an HIV vaccine
- Strive to discover a cure for HIV infection
The authors note that "Substantial breakthroughs in the understanding of HIV transmission and advances in the science of the treatment and prevention of infection with HIV have provided strong evidence that a dramatic alteration in the course of the HIV-AIDS pandemic is possible, with movement toward an AIDS-free generation, one in which new HIV infections and deaths from AIDS are rare. While it is clearly too early to declare victory, future success will depend on optimizing and implementing the tools available today for the prevention and treatment of infection with HIV while simultaneously addressing important research questions. This dual path promises movement toward the long-term goal of control and eventual elimination of HIV-AIDS as an important global health threat."
AS Fauci, et al. HIV-AIDS: much accomplished, much to do. Nature Immunology DOI: 10.1038/ni.2735 (2013).
Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., NIAID director; Carl W. Dieffenbach, Ph.D., director of the NIAID Division of AIDS; and Gregory K. Folkers, M.S., M.P.H., chief of staff to Dr. Fauci, are available for interviews.