World AIDS Day 2014: can better access help Close the Gap?


WAD2014_banner_624 1.12There is great inequality in the world, and today, on World AIDS Day, the inequality in healthcare is plainly obvious as many people do not have access to comprehensive antiretroviral therapy that is designed to help keep the disease at bay.

So, with this in mind, how could we end the AIDS epidemic by 2030, as UNAIDS state is possible in their 2014 report?

The answer is by closing the gap between those people who have access to HIV prevention, treatment and support services and those that do not. Closing the gap means empowering and enabling all people, everywhere, to access the services they need. No one should be left behind.

Stigma associated with the disease has resulted in individuals being wrongly persecuted and ignorance too has led to certain groups being overlooked.

We can close the gap by improving access to diagnostics, treatment and information.

Access to diagnostics will bring relief to the estimated 19 million people who are thought to be HIV positive, but have not been tested. Testing will help individuals find out their HIV status for certain and consequently begin to get treatment.

Improved access to diagnostics alone is not enough; the necessary treatment must also be available. Lifesaving medicine is out of reach for millions worldwide. Improve access to treatment, will help these 35 million people living with HIV. This includes children. Today, only 24% of children living with HIV have access to medicine.

Thirdly, access to information is imperative. The latest research, clinical data and educational material should be available to everyone without a financial barrier, so that everyone has the chance to contribute to a solution and benefit from the research.

Forget abracadabra, it seems that access could be ‘magic word’ that could make ending the AIDS epidemic possible.

Since, 2007 UNAIDS and WHO recommended voluntary medical male circumcision as an additional important strategy for HIV prevention, particularly in settings with high HIV prevalence and low levels of male circumcision. Read ‘Snip, snip…one little cut for an AIDS-free generation’, our blog on circumcising the nation.



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