HIV and AIDS in 2030: A Choice Between Two Futures
HIV and AIDS in 2030: A Choice Between Two Futures

Blog Articles

In 2017, It's Not Too Late for an AIDS-Free Generation

Religious institutions and faith communities have had a mixed history in the AIDS epidemic.  On the one hand, religious institutions were some of the earliest to provide care and services to people living with HIV, and they continue to play a vital role today.  Literally, millions of people depend on services provided by religious institutions.  On the other hand, stigma toward people living with HIV and toward marginalized populations often has a religious basis.  Even today, many people involved in fighting AIDS cite religion as a barrier rather than as an asset.  At the same time, AIDS leaders often say that it will be impossible to end AIDS without a strong contribution from faith leaders and communities.

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David Barstow
In 2017, It's Not Too Late to End AIDS

The United States has been the leader in the global response to AIDS.  PEPFAR (President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief), started by President George W. Bush in 2003, sparked a global initiative that has led to amazing progress, with almost 20 million people living with HIV now on life-saving treatment.  Fiscal year 2019 is an important opportunity to again demonstrate American leadership by increasing the US financial commitment to PEPFAR and The Global Fund.

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David Barstow
In 2030, Will We See A Tragic Failure to End AIDS?

Many people think the AIDS epidemic is over, that we've made great progress worldwide, that medicine and treatment protocols have been developed and are widely available, that the risks of infection are low, that we don't need to worry about the disease any more.  Michel Sidibé, the head of UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Programme for AIDS) is worried that this sense of complacency will lead to a weakening of the global response to AIDS, to losing the progress we have made, and ultimately to the resurgence of a deadly disease that we could have defeated.

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David Barstow
Public Service Announcements

We plan to produce a series of public service announcements leading up to the release of the film in July 2018.  The PSAs will remind all of us that the war against AIDS is not yet over.  Each PSA will focus on a specific issue, emphasizing that it is not too late to address the issue and to end the AIDS epidemic.

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David Barstow
Winning and Losing the War Against AIDS

I was in Paris this week to attend a meeting of the International AIDS Society.  I came home feeling like we are both winning and losing the war against AIDS.

The good news is that from a numeric perspective we are making good progress toward the 90-90-90 targets for 2020 set a few years ago by UNAIDS: that 90% of the people living with HIV will know their status; that 90% of them will be on treatment; and that 90% of them will have achieved viral suppression.

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David BarstowAIDS, HIV, UNAIDS
16 Million Needless Deaths

President Trump’s proposed budget marks a dramatic and frightening turning point in the war against AIDS.  The budget includes a 20% cut in funding for PEPFAR, the very successful AIDS initiative launched by President George W. Bush in 2003.  A recent New York Times article indicated that the proposed cut would cost about a million lives.  That was a one-year estimate.  If we assume the cut is permanent, and that other countries follow the American lead, then we will lose the war against AIDS.  The effects will be catastrophic in human terms.  Up to 16 million people may die by the year 2030.

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Projecting the Future of the AIDS Epidemic

In a companion blog, I pointed out that the long-term effect of President Trump’s proposed cuts in PEPFAR funding will be much larger than the estimated one million lives discussed in a recent New York Times article.  If the 20% cut is permanent, and other countries follow the American lead, then up to 16 million people may needlessly die of AIDS-related causes by the year 2030.  Predicting the future is always uncertain, especially when dealing with the medical, social, economic, and political complexities of the AIDS epidemic.  So let me explain where these numbers come from.

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Austin Candlelight Memorial

Austin proudly boasts the claim of having the longest running AIDS Candlelight Memorial Service in the State of Texas.  Unfortunately, the weather this year prevented the event from happening.  I had been invited to be one of the speakers, addressing national and international issues related to the AIDS epidemic.  I had prepared a mildly theatrical presentation, hoping to both entertain the crowd and draw attention to the critical decisions that will be made in Washington this year.  After Sunday’s cancellation, I recorded what I had planned to say.

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