Barack Obama declared this is the “beginning of the end” for AIDs, as the 24th World AIDs Day was marked internationally.
Thirty years after the disease’s discovery in 1981, the US is promising a $50 million injection into HIV/AIDs projects, in a bid to wipe out a pandemic that has killed 30 million people.
President Obama added that they aim to give 2 million more people access to antiretroviral drugs by the end of 2013, focusing on those in developing countries.
New initiatives were announced at the event in Washington, with former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush participating via satellite.
However it wasn’t all good news.
Despite the declining level of new infections elsewhere, some groups in developed countries are seeing an increase in diagnoses.
“There are communities in this country being devastated still by this disease. When new infections among young, black, gay men increase by nearly 50 per cent in three years, we need to do more to show them that their lives matter.” Obama said in his speech.
Statistics from 2010 show that HIV incidence has fallen in 33 countries, 22 of them in sub-Saharan Africa. However, in the U.K. there were 3,000 new HIV diagnoses in gay men, the highest figure ever recorded in a single year.
Deborah Jack, chief executive of National AIDS Trust said:
“HIV as a domestic issue has long been swept under the carpet so we are asking everyone to do their part getting involved in our campaigns, showing their support and also demonstrating to the Government that more must be done to tackle HIV in the UK.”
HIV has infected an estimated 60 million people since its discovery. More than 33 million people worldwide are thought to be living with the virus.