The new era in HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention

3 July, 2012

People at a conference

The prospects and implications of an exciting breakthrough in HIV /AIDS prevention and control strategies, namely treatment as prevention, were discussed at a recent Wilton Park meeting.

The new era in HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention: science, implementation and finance

27 – 28 June 2012 (WP1170)

This high level meeting organised in partnership with Sir Richard Feachem, Director of The Global Health Group, University of California, and Gilead Sciences Inc California, was held in France, near Geneva, during June.

Lead scientists, heads of development and technical agencies, representatives from governments, national programmes and civil society gathered to debate cutting edge scientific developments, and their implications for saving lives in HIV/AIDS programmes in developing countries. Some of these were:

  • John Martin, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, Board of Directors, Gilead Sciences Inc
  • Michel Sidibé, Executive Director, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)
  • Richard Feachem, Director, The Global Health Group, University of California, San Francisco
  • Betty King, Permanent Representative of the United States to the UN and Other International Organisations in Geneva, Permanent Mission of the United States of America
  • Seth Berkley, Chief Executive Officer, GAVI Alliance
  • Sheila Tlou, Regional Director, UNAIDS Regional Support Team, Eastern and Southern Africa, United Nations Joint Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS)
  • Luís Sambo, Regional Director, Regional Office for Africa, World Health Organisation (WHO)

Mounting research evidence shows the benefits of early treatment for HIV-infected people using antiretroviral therapy. Early treatment both saves the lives of HIV infected individuals, and importantly reduces HIV transmission from infected individuals to others. This raises the possibility of mass testing and treatment of populations to reduce HIV related morbidity and mortality, and lower new infections.

Such a prospect raises complex issues, with costs and benefits for trade off by countries, funders, communities and individuals affected. Ethical considerations also need to be taken account of. This expert group conducted a thorough and lively debate of these tricky issues, including matters of acceptability and feasibility for operational HIV/ AIDS programme delivery and international and domestic financing implications and requirements.

A report summarising these debates, and converging and diverging views, is available. Exchanges between participants were full and frank.  As per our discussion protocol, confidentiality are protected and attribution to individuals or agencies is not made.

Michel Sidibé, Executive Director for UNAIDs spoke on-the-record at the opening dinner and you can read the speech via the UNAIDs website.

Michel Sidibé, Executive Director, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)

Michel Sidibé, Executive Director for UNAIDs spoke on-the-record at the opening dinner and you can read the speech via the UNAIDs website.

This conference is the second in a series of discussions focusing on HIV/AIDS, the first focusing on financing continued scale-up in HIV/AIDS treatment.

Further information

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