26 Jul 2012
Speaking at the Biennial International World Aids Conference being hosted in Washington DC this week (attended by 20,000 people), US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton predicted that we could be looking forward to an AIDS free generation -- apparently because the suppression of the virus is proving successful in developed nations. There has also been talk that a cure for AIDS is imminent. But justice of the South African Constitutional Court, Edwin Cameron, who has been living with HIV for 27 years and been on treatment for 15 years, is skeptical about talk of vaccines and cures.
Nevertheless, the West does seem to be winning the battle against AIDS while the poor in developing countries are dying by the millions. “Is the West doing enough to help poor nations?” asks Al Jazeera.
More than 34 million people are thought to be living with HIV globally, many in Sub-Saharan Africa. Worse, drug resistant HIV has been increasing in parts of the region because people are failing to stick to drug regiments -- a situation hampered by poor monitoring programmes.
And, while South Africa has the biggest publicly provided treatment programme with 1.7 million South Africans on treatment, there are still 1000 new infections occurring in the country daily. Slightly over 300,000 people are being infected in South Africa every year.
According to Cameron, medical science has given us effective suppression of the virus, but we mustn't over medicalise the problem. What is needed is a broad-based strategy, which also has the effect of halting new infections.