Yesterday's Shots featured an interesting conversation with Richard Knox and Michel Sibidé, the head of UNAIDS. In the Q&A, Sibidé talks about the almost-30-year-old AIDS pandemic, the progress that has been made since its peak in 1999, and the new goal for getting everyone on HIV treatment who needs it. He comments on a Stanford study showing that the prospect for universal access to care (which would cost a stunning $15 billion a year) appears remote, and he worries how global economic woes are affecting treatment efforts:
I am really concerned, I am scared with what I'm seeing. Because I'm seeing a reduction for the first time in global resources for fighting HIV/AIDS. And that is very risky. Because the gains made through global solidarity are very fragile.
We have five million people on treatment - if we stop, these people will start dying six months from now. Most of them don't know what will happen to them. And most of them are from the poorest segments of society
People are saying we are in a global recession, we are facing a financial crisis, we have high unemployment. Which is true. But what I am saying to them is please, when you're making your macroeconomic adjustment, try to make it with a human face. We cannot say that in the name of a financial crisis, we will abandon those five million people on treatment.
Previously: Will access to AIDS drugs in Africa continue?