"We succeeded in getting these kids free HIV drugs and support. But if they can't keep the meds safe then the whole thing falls apart."
ERproductions Ltd via Getty Images
We are just three years away from being called to account for our progress towards the 2020 Fast-Track targets -- a critical milestone in ending the AIDS epidemic. We still have a great distance to travel before we're able to call it a success. Measures to close this gap are readily available, but what we need is an all hands-on deck approach.
Since 2011, new infections in children have reduced by a massive 60 per cent -- this drop is responsible for most of the impressive decline in HIV infections globally. So why then is it hard for me to join in the spontaneous applause that tend to break out at events where statements such as "... and her baby was born HIV-free" or "... and my baby is healthy" are made?
Tetra Images via Getty Images
Few health workers with knowledge of sign language and a lack of written or visual information on HIV in sign language are further barriers for those with hearing impairments. Requiring a sign language interpreter also limits the level of privacy deaf people have when accessing health services. Additionally, much information can get lost in translation. Without comprehensive knowledge of HIV transmission, Lesotho's deaf population remains vulnerable to this virus.
Internationally the formal commitment has been made to end AIDS by 2030. However, there is a chasm to be crossed between the formal signature of a country acknowledging that these targets ought to be met, and the day-to-day financial, political, and social effort that meeting these targets will require.
Thirty-seven years old. In 2030, I will be 37 years old. In 2030, the AIDS epidemic will be eliminated. I hope. According to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or "Global Goals" that's the plan. I pray to God they're right. I can wait till 37, but if I'm being honest, I expect to be waiting much past that.
Mint via Getty Images
current prevention strategies are not decreasing the rate of new HIV infections quickly enough to end the epidemic -- and women and girls are especially at risk. Given recent advances in HIV prevention science, we can, and must, do better.
GEOFF ROBINS via Getty Images
Over the last decade, the HIV community has very effectively used the cascade of care analysis to identify and plug gaps so that more patients receive effective treatment. UNAIDS recently endorsed an ambitious "90-90-90" global target based on the cascade. The TB community has lagged behind.
Global Fund announced that pledges totalling US$12.9 billion were made. This is almost US$1 billion more than what was raised at the previous replenishment conference in 2013 and represents a significant commitment to fighting the three diseases over the coming three years. But will it be enough to end the three epidemics for good?
Science Photo Library - SCIEPRO via Getty Images
Picture this scenario: An individual living with HIV in British Columbia, "Doug" (whose name has been changed for privacy), was being "shuffled around" through care. As a result, he had grown tired and had mostly given up on treating his HIV.
Peathegee Inc via Getty Images
Experimental U.K. treatment made HIV "undetectable" in a patient's blood during clinical trials.
Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development
Older women/grandmothers in sub-Saharan Africa are rarely recognized or included in programs and policies addressing HIV/AIDS, health-care strengthening and development assistance. Yet they are at the centre of the pandemic.
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Global leaders pledged over US$12.9 billion dollars which will help save 8 million lives and stop an additional 300 million new infections worldwide by 2019, as well as contribute to ending these deadly diseases as epidemics by 2030. This is truly a promising horizon.
As Montreal gears up to host the biggest leaders in global health, it is our hope that Canada will go well beyond provision of international aid, and find a way to harness the abundant scientific talent in Canada. Doing so will not only amplify the financial contributions by Canadians, but also show our global solidarity.