AIDS Deaths Could Be Cut by 28 Million by 2030, Researchers Say
November 28, 2006
Preventing new HIV infections and expanding the distribution of antiretrovirals (ARVs) could cut global AIDS deaths from an estimated 117 million by 2030 to 89 million, according to a new report from the World Health Organization. "What happens in the future depends very much on what the international community does now," said Dr. Colin Mathers, who co-authored the report with Dejan Loncar.
The report analyzed data from more than 100 countries and is an update of mortality projections made a decade ago, which assumed global infections would begin decreasing around the year 2000. Instead, AIDS is on track to become a leading cause of death worldwide.
"It will be increasingly hard to sustain treatment programs unless we can turn off the tap of new HIV infections," said Dr. Richard Hays, epidemiology professor at London's School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. "These AIDS numbers point to a need to do more in prevention," he said. "You can't put all your eggs in the abstinence basket. We need a menu of strategies for real people," he said, including condom distribution and new methods such as a vaccine.
If countries act now to stop AIDS, more people will die at older ages of non-infectious diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, stroke and cancer. Overall, Mathers and Loncar estimate non-communicable diseases will be responsible for 70 percent of global mortality in 2030, up from 59 percent in 2002.
The full open-access report, "Projections of Global Mortality and Burden of Disease from 2002 to 2030," was published in Public Library of Science-Medicine (2006;3(11):e442. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030442).
11.28.2006; Maria Cheng