Physician-scientists working on the front lines of the HIV/AIDS epidemic have urged the White House to set bold new HIV treatment targets for the PEPFAR program, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Earlier this month, the Center for Global Health Policy joined with a coalition of other advocacy groups—including Health GAP, amfAR (the Foundation for AIDS Research), the Treatment Action Group, and The AIDS Institute—in calling for PEPFAR to reach 6 million people with treatment by 2013 and 7 million by 2014.
"The rapid scale up to provide antiretrovirals to millions of people through PEPFAR and other programs has made AIDS a manageable chronic disease in many resource-constrained environments,” said Kenneth Mayer, MD, co-chair of Global Center’s Scientific Advisory Committee, in a press release. “However, the majority of people who need life-saving treatment are not receiving it. With data suggesting that earlier treatment may prevent long-term consequences of HIV disease and may make HIV-positive people less infectious, there is increased urgency to expand access to these medications.”
The Global Center and its partners also sent a memo to U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Eric Goosby, MD, detailing this HIV treatment imperative and noting that these aggressive new targets will allow the United States to continue its strong leadership in combating global AIDS. The targets can easily be reached if the funding for global AIDS, included when lawmakers reauthorized PEPFAR last summer, as the Lantos-Hyde Act, is actually provided.
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