Bill Clinton is fighting to rid the world of AIDS. The former president, and husband to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, outlines his hard work in a blog post for Medium.
"Today, we are well on our way to ending AIDS, but much more work remains," Clinton writes.
"Ending the AIDS epidemic is primarily a logistical challenge now, and until scientists discover a cure, the most effective tool we have is to provide treatment for all who need it — and to provide it as early as possible. The evidence is strong that early treatment goes a long way towards preventing new infections and helping people live long, productive lives. This means starting by ending mother-to-child transmission, an initiative that has shown great promise and early success. Treatment for both adults and children is far cheaper than it was even a few years ago — in fact, we are already spending more money on HIV every year than it would cost to treat every single individual who carries the virus — so over the next five years we should strive to achieve universal treatment. We can afford to be ambitious. Not to be will actually cost more, in lives and money.
"To achieve this goal, we need to help countries reach the millions of people within their borders who may not know they are infected by providing higher-quality, lower-cost diagnostics and helping to build efficient health systems that can deliver them where they are most needed. This will be particularly important — and particularly challenging — in big countries like Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It will also be important in countries with lower burdens, where HIV is ignored or where the epidemic persists among members of marginalized groups. It can be done. For example, in Mozambique, with the support of the national government and CHAI, laboratory technicians now set out across lakes in canoes visiting rural communities with point-of-care devices that can help increase rates of antiretroviral therapy initiation and better monitor patients’ viral loads across a lifetime of care."Most important, we need to support developing countries in their efforts to manage and finance their own responses. AIDS is a global challenge, but it is also an inherently local one. Donors must give a high priority to helping ministries of health around the world put in place the qualified community health workers and effective health systems necessary to develop and sustain national treatment programmes. Good systems will also empower them to limit the impact of other problems, including a reappearance of Ebola, diarrhoea and, in Haiti, the persistence of cholera.
"As we work to meet the new UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets, it’s worth remembering where we started and how far we’ve come. Going forward, we must use the lessons of the past to inform the efforts of the future. If we remember what is possible when we all work together, we will be able to overcome the challenge much sooner than many people think and enjoy a future where AIDS is a thing of the past."