HIV/ AIDS epidemic could be over by 2030
Published: Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 11:10
The global HIV/AIDS epidemic could be over by 2030 since infection rates have dropped significantly, according to a leading U.N. official.
Dr. Luiz Loures, the deputy executive director of the U.N. HIV/AIDS agency (UNAIDS), said it is possible for the epidemic to be gone in 17 years.
The percentage of people newly infected with HIV/AIDS has dropped by one-third since 2001, UN officials said. The reported numbers of HIV infections dropped 33 percent in 2012, while new infections among children dropped 53 percent.
U.N. officials are prepared to provide treatment for 15 million people in low and middle income countries by 2015. According to UNAIDS reports, 10 million people from those countries are receiving life saving treatment.
However, the report also found that progress is slow in finding HIV services for people at most risk for contracting the disease. The epidemic is growing among men who have unprotected sex with men, sex workers and people who use intravenous drugs. Countries that promote the fear of disapproval of someone’s sexual orientation were also preventing people from getting help, they said.
“This is where the epidemic is increasing and requires special attention,” Loures said. “Homosexual men are getting AIDS because [in many countries] they cannot come out, they cannot go to health centers, they cannot even buy a condom.”
The UK government announced a pledge to the equivalent of $1.6 billion to the Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB and Malaria. The initiative would provide treatment to 750,000 people between 2014 and 2016, according to the Department of International Development.
The problem is not only with those in lower developed countries. According to Michelle Segall, a health professor from Georgia Institute of Technology, college students are also not getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases.
“We also see nationally that only 28 percent of college students report being tested for HIV,” Segall said.
Segall said that a college student who is sexually active is at risk for getting HIV or any other sexually transmitted infection (STI).
“Anybody who is sexually active is at risk for STI transmission,” Segall said. “Sixty-four percent of college students are sexually active, and the only way to know for sure if you have a STI is to be screened.”
According to Sam Houston State University’s Health Center website, students who are currently enrolled can receive HIV testing or any STI screenings.