What Will It Take To End AIDS?
AIDS isn’t a disease of the past, it’s still a crisis of now. Yes, the world has made incredible progress in the fight: 22 million people are now accessing life-saving treatment; AIDS-related deaths have halved since their peak and the daily cost of treatment has decreased to only 20 cents a day.
But we’re in danger of seeing this progress reverse. Over 15 million people still need access to medication. Today, 500 babies will be born with HIV. In the few minutes it takes you to read this, 6 people will have died from a disease that is both preventable and treatable.
There’s still plenty of work to be done to end AIDS as an epidemic by 2030, the international community’s set deadline. It might seem impossible, but we can end AIDS in the next 11 years. Here are a few ways how.
Focus on Women & Girls
Women & girls continue to be disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS. 19.1 million women and girls are living with HIV around the world, more than half of the total population living with the virus. AIDS is the leading cause of death among women between the ages of 15-49 years old, and every day, 1000 young women contract HIV. Investing in programs that provide sexual reproductive health education, treatment and counseling to young women & girls can ultimately reduce new HIV infections, and protect the next generation of girls from harmful gender norms and stigma that help perpetuate the virus.
Strong and Resilient Health Care Systems
Diseases like AIDS do not recognize borders. And as a result of weak health systems and lack of access to health care, the most vulnerable populations are often hit the hardest. The resurgence of diseases that previously ended like polio and measles—and more recent global outbreaks like Ebola and Zika— show the importance of investing in health care systems and security around the world. Making sure health care workers get trained, improving supply chains and strengthening data sharing will ultimately lead to more people getting access to better health care.
Money—and more of it
2019 marks a critical year for global health funding, specifically for the Global Fund, who are responsible for 20% of all international financing to fight HIV/AIDS and have helped save 27 million lives from AIDS, TB and Malaria. What should be a no-brainer investment has now become a fight for funding, thanks to increased skepticism of foreign aid— and increased complacency.
This October, in Lyon, France, the Global Fund will host their 6th Replenishment Conference to ask governments, companies, NGOs and other donors to pledge $14 billion to ultimately help save 16 million lives. Even further, every $1 invested in this Replenishment will deliver $19 in health gains and economic return.
None of the above will be possible without you, a (RED) supporter, keeping up the heat and awareness on HIV/AIDS. Now more than ever, we need our consumers and audience to take action and help us keep up critical funding and focus on this fight.