40 years on: four action points essential to the global battle against HIV and AIDS

Health, Policies

40 years on: four action points essential to the global battle against HIV and AIDS

On 5 June 1981 a short report of five cases of pneumocystis pneumonia in young homosexual men in Los Angeles marked the discovery of AIDS, the first pandemic of the 20th century caused by a completely new virus, HIV.

Since then HIV has killed 33 million and infected 76 million people. Of the 38 million people living with HIV 27 million are now on life-saving treatment. This is a three-fold increase since 2010. But it still falls short of the global target of ensuring that 30 million people would be on treatment by 2020.

In fact, not one of the 2020 targets has been achieved. We are not even close. In 2020, there were 1.5 million new infections, three times the target of 500,000, and 690,000 deaths were reported, almost 200,000 more than the target of 500,000.