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Commentary & Opinion
AIDS Anniversary: Remarkable Progress Seen in 30 Years -- but "Victory" Is Elusive

June 15, 2011

"The 30-year battle against [AIDS] is a remarkable chapter in the history of medicine, science and cultural education. ...

"While the specter of what once seemed an unstoppable pandemic has faded, this is no time to pop the champagne corks. Young people, particularly minorities, are still getting infected by HIV ... . Many of them don't even know it. HIV continues to spread in the developing world, where prevention education and medical resources are limited.

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"The perception that the AIDS crisis is 'over' makes the education/prevention task harder. Young people, seduced by online social networks, seem to be resuming risky behavior. In Onondaga County, 41 new HIV cases were diagnosed among the 24-and-under age group in recent years. Meanwhile, the relentless pressure of other needs could start to drain the hard-won funds that are saving lives and could yet lead to a vaccine and tame HIV for good. ...

"Today, many of the estimated 1 million Americans living with HIV, up to 1,000 of them in Onondaga County, use a combination of anti-HIV drugs to live full lives, and look forward to a normal lifespan. Over the past decade, government and private initiatives have extended treatment to 11 million people with HIV in the developing world. Continuing care, prevention efforts and testing reach millions more. Babies are born virus-free to infected mothers -- in the United States and abroad.

"But at least 60 million people have contracted HIV, of which as many as half are dead. Of 2.6 million people infected in 2009, 1.8 million have died, most of them in the developing world. On this noteworthy anniversary, there is much to celebrate. But there is much more work to do. This is no time for complacency."

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Excerpted from:
Post-Standard (Syracuse)
06.05.2011




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