Why we must Treat AIDS Now
“What is wrong with the world? People are dying in numbers that are the stuff of science fiction. Millions of human beings are at risk. Communities, families, mothers, fathers, children are like shards of humanity caught in a maelstrom of destruction. They´re flesh and blood human beings, for God´s sake; is that not enough to ignite the conscience of the world?” Stephen Lewis, UN Special Envoy for AIDS in Africa
Find out more: The campaign briefing explains more about HIV/AIDS, why we’re campaigning on access to treatment, and the main barriers in the way of meeting the target of universal access by 2010.
Why we must Treat AIDS Now
Because AIDS is the worst epidemic ever
Today 39 million people are living with HIV/AIDS.
Today 8,200 will die, 11,000 more will become infected.
Because AIDS is the crisis of our generation
The majority of people living with HIV/AIDS are under 25, many are born with HIV.
An entire generation is being wiped out in its prime, leaving millions of orphans, devastated communites and struggling economies.
Because shocking statistics are not the real scandal
The most shocking fact about the AIDS crisis is that we already have the means at our disposal to deal with it and to turn the tide on the devastation it causes — but we are not taking the action required.
AIDS can be treated
Drugs called anti-retrovirals (ARVs) can give people living with HIV/AIDS twenty or more healthy years and help stop the spread of the virus.
They have been proven to work effectively, even in very poor countries, transforming people´s lives. Treatment is an essential part of an effective response to the epidemic.
Access to treatment is an issue of fundamental justice and human rights.
In rich countries there is near universal access to AIDS treatment. But only a small proportion of those in the developing world have access to the drugs they need to prolong their lives and allow them hope and a better future.
We believe they have a right to the treatment that could keep them healthy, the same treatment that people in the West take for granted.
Keep the promise
In 2005 the UK led the world in promising universal access to treatment by 2010. But without urgent action, this promise will be broken, at the cost of millions of lives.
International trade rules keep treatment priced out of reach by blocking access to affordable medicines. Despite international commitments on the rights of countries to protect public health, trade rules on intellectual property still prioritise corporate profits over the rights of patients.
The cheapest AIDS drugs are ‘generics’ (copies of more expensive branded drugs). Generic competition is vital to bring down the prices of medicines and bring the goal of universal access closer to reality. But international trade rules are blocking the production and export of generic drugs. These rules mean that treatment is still out for reach of most of the world´s people, placing a major obstacle in the way of achieving the goal of universal access. Governments can change these rules. If they are to keep the promise of universal access then they must. We need more and better money
Significantly more resources need to be mobilised if we are to meet global targets. In addition funding needs to be secure over the long term so that developing countries can plan an effective response to the epidemic.
But rich countries are not stumping up enough cash. The money needed to tackle AIDS is tiny compared to the amount rich countries spend on war, or even on ice-cream or cosmetics. And the human, social, economic and political returns far outweigh the relatively small financial cost.